The Economist reports on the outrageous trail of two russian curators for organizing an exhibition of contemporary ”forbidden” art in Russia. The outcome should be interesting and quite possibly frightening. This specific example could very well lead to a graver international isolation of Russia, and we will find out just what and impact freedom of expressing stupid or dangerous art can have of international relations. From the Economist:
A guilty verdict, says Andrei Zorin, an historian of Russian culture at Oxford University, would send a powerful signal to the ultra-Orthodox radicals and nationalists, who will inevitably seek more repression and control over people’s lives. “It is as naive to assume that it would not touch on everyone’s lives, as it was naive seven years ago to think that the jailing of Mikhail Khodorkovsky [a former business tycoon] would have no impact on business and politics in Russia,” he argues.
A conviction will hurt Russia’s international reputation and undermine any talk of modernisation. This may be why Alexander Avdeev, Russia’s minister of culture, has criticised the criminal proceedings. Kirill has not spoken against the prosecution being carried out in the name of the church—even though a conviction could harm its reputation more than any exhibition could ever do.