Belarusian Art Activist Detained in Moscow

November 19, 2013
Denis Limonov. Photo:

Barely a week after a Russian protester, Pyotr Pavlensky, nailed his scrotum to the cobblestones in Red Square to raise awareness to what he says is Russia’s descent into a “police state,” a Belarusian art activist has been arrested for planning what authorities say would have been a terrorist attack. – Ed.

Belarusian art activist Denis Limonov has been detained in Moscow, the news portal OVD-info reported. (Russians have begun to use the term aktionist to describe conceptual artists who stage provocative public performances to make a political point—Trans.)

According to OVD-info [a news service which covers police detentions of protesters], the Belarusian activist from Mogilyov was detained 18 November at about 4:00 p.m. after a check of his documents on Pushkin Square and brought to the Tagansky District Interior Affairs Department [police precinct]. As Belarusian journalist Aleksandr Kolesnikov reported, at 9:00 a.m. on 19 November, Limonov was brought to the prosecutor’s office, pending a possible procedure leading to his deportation from Russia.

Aktionist Limonov is a participant of the Mogilyov art group called Lime Blossom. In December 2011, they publicly wrote a statement to the Prosecutor General of Belarus that Lime Blossom had taken part in the terrorist attacks inVitebsk and Minsk.

“The chief motive for our crimes against public conscience was to de-escalate the large-scale political terror in the republic by means of the planning and staging of local explosions, and also the drawing of public attention to the problem of constitutional fascism in the republic,” said Limonov’s appeal. The author also noted that “the art group declares its crimes to be art works and devotes them to the victims of the bloody state machine.”

As Limonov himself explained at the time in an interview with the publication Belorusskiy Partizan, with his “confession” he wanted to create a formal bases for renewing the investigation into the terrorist attacks. Two men, Vladislav Kovalev and Dmitry Konovalov confessed to the bombings in Vitebsk and Minsk and were executed by firing squad in March 2012.

In November 2011, Limonov organized an action in Mogilyov called “Ruckus on Bus No. 23.” The young artist went on the bus and called on citizens not to remain silent but express their outrage about what was happening in Belarus. The aktionist deliberately played the role of a “village idiot” thus demonstrating how intimidated Belarusians are, explained Belorusskiy Partizan.

After the bus action, Limonov attracted the attention of Belarusian law-enforcement agencies. According to some sources, he has been living in Moscow since late 2011.