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This is how the action was supposed to look like according to the artist’s intention. Photomontage

Moscow artist Danila Tkachenko is the author of the Motherland project, for which he set fire to abandoned village houses in 2017. On May 9, the artist was preparing a new action – Tkachenko wanted to blow smoke in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in the center of Moscow during the Victory Parade. The action was interrupted by the police. The artist, according to him, opened a criminal case under the article on hooliganism. And his friends and relatives were searched. Meduza spoke with Danila Tkachenko.

May 9 is an important holiday. Today it is completely unfairly appropriated by the Russian authorities. They broadcast militarism and aggression. I wanted to say “no” to this and support Ukraine. I think that everyone should do everything in his power to resist this war and aggression. I am an artist and I do what I can.

For this action, I found an apartment on Avito on the penultimate floor in a house near the State Duma [по адресу Георгиевский переулок 24]. I rented them from some luxury service that rents a lot of apartments.

In the apartment I placed [140 шашек] into two large air conditioners – one for yellow [шашек], another for blue. An igniter flame went to each checker – this is such a posting that was supposed to set fire to the wicks of the checkers. Each air conditioner had about 70 checkers, each had a wire – they were all connected to two wires of 220 volts. When electricity was applied, the wicks should have ignited, and the checkers should have given out a large amount of smoke.

Air conditioners were connected to “smart” sockets, just in case different – powered by GSM and from Wi-Fi. I also had a spare battery in case the power went out.

[Подготовка к акции] it looked powerful – the analysis of air conditioners, a lot of wires, but of course I did not take pictures of it. Before leaving, I cleaned up all the photos from my phone – on the day of the action, I was no longer in Russia, I left the country by bus. I was lucky to be able to get out. If I was caught there, I would have sucked.

On May 9, I watched the broadcast of the parade and tried to turn on the smart sockets in my apartment using the Internet and SMS. But the air conditioners didn’t work. Watching live broadcast [парада] I saw that the police were standing by the house and taking pictures of the apartments. Then it became clear that they somehow managed to stop this story, but how exactly I do not know.

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That same night, searches began – there were four or five of them – at my mother, in the apartments where I used to live or was registered, at the mother of my girlfriend (she left Russia before me) and at my friends. Mom is now in a state of shock, she is threatened to start a criminal case against her.

Who conducts the searches – the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the FSB – I do not know. But I know that my friends have been detained [сотрудники центра противодействия экстремизму МВД] “eshniki”. A group of people in masks attacked the friends, put them face down on the asphalt, and then took them to the police station. One of them was beaten. He was imprisoned for 10 days for allegedly swearing during the investigation. Probably this is an excuse to close it (probably for “disobedience to the police” – approx. “Jellyfish”). I can’t give his name because I don’t know if he wants publicity, but a lawyer is working with him now.

[Силовики] trying to dig all my surroundings, friends. Everyone’s phones are taken away and doors are broken. So far I have paid two [изъятых]iPhone and two [выломанные] doors.

I know that a criminal case has been opened under the article “hooliganism”. I learned about the article from a lawyer who works with a friend of mine. As far as I know, a friend passes in the status of a witness. my [родственников и друзей] being interrogated and trying to find out if they knew something [об акции]. When I was preparing for the action, I [специально] didn’t tell anyone about it. But since I left Russia, they [силовикам] Looks like someone needs to be brought in. They want to make a criminal case about a “group of persons” [пытавшейся провести акцию] — because it is a more serious article.

[От друзей и родственников] I learned that now, apparently, it is important for the authorities to find [в акции] some foreign funding. They’re looking for clues as to who interacted with the foreigners. Looking for those who could incite me. They asked my parents about it. But this [акция] my personal initiative, which I did with my own money, spent about 400-500 thousand rubles.

It is not clear what will come of this. There is no proof, but since [правоохранительная] the system in Russia does not work, I’m afraid that [органы] they can come up with something.

Artists around the world against the war

Recorded Andrey Kaganskikh

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