PostSovietGraffiti

Silent voice of Russian graffiti

  • 2017-10-12
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Nicole Kwok、Daisy LeeEdited by: Nicole Kwok、Daisy Lee
  • 2017-10-12

Street art is never welcomed in Russia. With high level of censorship, the authoritarian country does not allow much expression amid the existence of discontented undercurrents. Some said russian graffiti first took off in the days when the Western influences, especially American cultures, were introduced in the USSR. To be exact, breakdancing, derived from American hip-hop movies, partially brought the beginning of Russian graffiti subculture in the 1980s. Breakdancers became graffiti artists as they have to create eye-catching backdrops for performances. At the same time in late Soviet period, graffiti became a rebellious medium for the public, especially youth, to express non-conformity. Russian hippies use walls to share ideas of peace and kindness, while pacifists and anti-war groups began to use graffiti as a way to spread moral wrongs of war and their opposition to the Soviet Union in declaring war in Afghanistan. Russian graffiti artist Dmitri Aske once wrote, "A city is a large sandbox, and graffiti is one of the ways of existing within that sandbox." He thinks that street arts, graffitis or patriotic drawings on the facade or fences of Russia reflects currents events of the place. In Russia, ‘Bombing' is an important expressing method for local graffiti artists. It is a technique of quickly covering large areas with graffiti by tagging public transports, such as trains, or simply a whole street. Legal liability is one of the crucial concerns for graffitists all over the world. Though there is no typical law regulating graffiti in Russia, some Russian lawyers pointed out that anyone who is caught for painting graffiti can still be penalised by law enforcement under criminal code. Hurriyet Daily News reported in 2013 that Russian police had pressed charges of vandalism and graffiti which mocked Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.  According to the law, …