Art and Protest in Putin's Russia

  • Lena Jonson

The Pussy Riot protest, and the subsequent heavy handed treatment of the protestors, grabbed the headlines, but this was not an isolated instance of art being noticeably critical of the regime. As this book, based on extensive original research, shows, there has been gradually emerging over recent decades a significant counter-culture in the art world which satirises and ridicules the regime and the values it represents, at the same time putting forward, through art, alternative values. The book traces the development of art and protest in recent decades, discusses how art of this kind engages in political and social protest, and provides many illustrations as examples of art as protest. The book concludes by discussing how important art has been in facilitating new social values and in prompting political protests.

Lena Jonson is Associate Research Fellow at UI. Her research currently focuses on Russian domestic politics and issues of political and societal change (modernisation) as well as the contemporary role of culture and its standing in Russia.

Lena Jonson has published several articles and works examining Russian society and politics (mainly foreign and security policy), Russia's relations with Europe and Russian relations with the former Soviet territories. She has also published widely on Central Asia, and on Tajikistan in particular. 

Lena Jonson is one of the founders of the network "Sällskapet för studier av Ryssland, Central-och Östeuropa samt Centralasien" (1997) and was its first chairperson. She has been a guest researcher at George Washington University and the Kennan Institute at the Wilson Centre, as well as a scholarship recipient at the universities of (then) Leningrad and Moscow. From 2005-2009, she served as Cultural Attaché at the Swedish Embassy in Moscow. In 2002, she worked as a Political Officer at the OSCE-office i Dushanbe, Tajikistan. In 1997-1998, she was a Senior Researcher at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

Sponsored by the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies and co-sponsored by The Europe Center.