It’s (not) okay Russian street artists take inspiration from ‘foreign agent’ theme

It’s been two days since Meduza concluded its summer music festival, where well-known artists (like Eurovision finalist Manizha) showed their support for Meduza and other media outlets labeled as “foreign agents” by premiering new music and special covers of beloved tracks. Now, heading into fall, other creatives are taking on the “foreign agent” theme — namely, graffiti artists.

As part of Yekaterinburg’s Carte Blanche festival, street artist Sergey Ovseikin painted a “foreign agent” on the side of a building in the city’s Gorodok Chekistov (Chekist Village) complex. The work shows a man opening his jacket to reveal the “foreign-agent media outlets” Meduza and Dozhd (TV Rain). 

Another work of street art — titled “It’s ok” — popped up in St. Petersburg. The new graffiti-art group “Yav” painted the mural in the courtyard of a building on Vasilievsky Island without the permission of the authorities. It depicts a man who is reading a blank newspaper, his laptop is open but the screen is also blank — below it is the “foreign agent” disclaimer that media outlets and journalists with this status are required to add to all of their materials. 

“‘It’s ok’ is a work about our current reality,” Yav member Anastasia Vladychkina explained. “Where each day something is banned, but this doesn’t bother a person, the things around him gradually fall under prohibitions, but for him everything’s okay. This street art will definitely be destroyed, likely in the next couple hours, if it hasn’t been destroyed already.” 

Yav later wroted on Instagram that the mural had in fact been destroyed. 

On September 1, Meduza launched the next stage of its crowdfunding campaign under the slogan “I’m with you, Meduza” — because this state of affairs definitely isn’t “ok.” This is a unifying slogan that reminds us that even if winter is near, our readers support us and we, in turn, support them and urge them not to be afraid of anything. Works of street art like these are a great way of saying, “I’m with you, Meduza.” Thank you ❤️

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