Poet Gandlevsky tears down portrait of Stalin in metro and is detained by police for two hours

posted 30 May 2016, 01:35 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 30 May 2016, 01:49 ]
25 May 2016

Source: HRO.org (info) [original source: ОVD-Info]
On 23 May the poet Sergei Gandlevsky was arrested by police officers at Lubyanka metro station in Moscow after tearing down a portrait of Stalin which was attached to the wall. He was released only a couple of hours later, without any official record of his detention having been made.

The poet talked about what happened to OVD Info. It took place in the daytime – it was still light.

“I walked to Lubyanka [the platform – OVD Info], and saw a portrait of Stalin attached to the wall. Given that he is a criminal, I tore it [the portrait – OVD Info] off the wall,” said Gandlevsky. This was seen by a man, who walked up to him and asked “What are you doing?” Gandlevsky replied, explaining what he was doing.

“Then the man disappeared, and I walked further towards the platform, because I had to get home to Chistye Prudy. But two police officers caught up with me. With them was that same man, who exclaimed “That’s him!” And they took me by force to a glass cubicle [the metro police station – OVD Info],” said the poet.

According to him, the police officers told him that he would be “imprisoned for an act of vandalism and petty hooliganism.” The poet noted that they spoke to him the entire time using the familiar form ‘Ty’. Moreover, the police officers did not mention “the father of the peoples”. Gandlevsky was able to get through to his friends on the phone, and a while later he was released without any explanation for his detention.

Sergei Gandlevsky is a Russian poet, prose writer, essayist and translator. He is the recipient of the Anti-Booker, Little Booker, Palmyra of the North, Apollon Grigorev, and Poet prizes. He is a member of the jury for a number of literary prizes.

Translated by Kate Goodby