Voina Art Group Gives Prize Money to Human Rights Defenders

Source: HRO.org (info), 06/07/11

· Human Rights Activists  · Protest Campaigns  · St Petersburg and Leningrad Region

The performance art group Voina (English: War) has donated the 400,000 roubles it received in prize money for the Innovation Award to the Agora Human Rights Association, Nezavisimaya gazeta reported on 5 July. According to Agora spokesperson Dmitry Kolbasin the human rights defenders plan to use this money to help support civic activists.


Dmitry Kolbasin told Nezavisimaya gazeta that Voina had spontaneously offered the money to them. Agora Human Rights Association has provided legal support to Voina since the Palace Revolution stunt that the art group organized in St. Petersburg in September 2010, following which activists Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolaev spent several months in police custody. Agora consists of a team of several dozen lawyers.

Lenta.ru reports, that the Voina art group collected their cash prize at the end of June, three months after winning the Innovation award. In April Voina activist Oleg Vorotnikov had revealed that the money would be spent on helping political prisoners.

In the past, Voina spent the 4 million roubles raised by British artist Banksy to help Taisia Osipova, an activist with The Other Russia, who had been accused of drug dealing. One of Osipova’s lawyers is a member of Agora.

The Innovation prize was awarded to Voina for the stunt “Pr*ck captured by the FSB" organized in the summer of 2010. The news that the state prize had been awarded to Voina met with mixed reactions. The Public Chamber of the Russian Federation issued a statement criticising the Ministry of Culture. In art circles, however, Voina’s victory was considered well deserved.
Rights in Russia,
14 Jul 2011, 14:26