Framing Russia’s Occupation: An Installation of “Russkiy mir” in Central Berlin

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War crimes, torture, murder, impunity. Disrespect for human rights and international law. Russia brings its pernicious ideology of  “russkiy mir” to every occupied territory. In order to explain the danger of the doctrine of “russkiy mir” for a broader European audience, an installation with the same name will be placed near the embassy of the Russian Federation in Berlin. Within four square meters of symbolically “occupied” ground, the horrors of Russia’s occupation. The installation will open on February 22, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. 

“We wanted to clearly show German society the threat that Russia poses to its occupied territories. At the same time, Russia’s menace is not limited to direct military invasion of the kind already experienced in Ukraine. Propaganda, economic and political manipulation, and large-scale blackmail have been used against Western societies for many years. Today we are heartened by every step that Germany takes to free itself from this influence,” explain [idsgroup], the Ukrainian creative agency behind this installation. 

The perimeter of the “Russkiy Mir” installation is fenced off by a gas pipe of bright yellow color, and there is a warning sign at the entrance: “Everyone who is on this territory obeys the rules and laws of the Russian world.” The rules themselves are made  to reflect the reality of the oppressive system under Russia’s own “russkiy mir”. Thus, the ban on LGBTQ+ symbols, gatherings and rallies criticizing the government, etc. By contrast, beating one’s family members is not a reason for criminal punishment. The torture of those who oppose “Russkiy Mir” is openly allowed. And each of these rules is supported by a legislative act of the Russian Federation or a precedent set by international organizations regarding Russia’s actions in the occupied territories. This is not just artistic representation – it is reality.

“Recently, the EU External Action Service named Russia as the top country responsible for spreading disinformation in 2022. The entire Russian international information policy is a policy of occupation. Kremlin propaganda remains an informational weapon, justifying crimes, undermining trust in Ukraine, and destabilizing societies of democratic countries. Therefore, together with Ukraine, the world must fight and defend its freedoms and free itself from lies,” says Maria Sagaidak, head of the strategic communications department at the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, which is the developer of the project, about the goal of the installation.

“‘Russkiy mir’ has many guises and manifestations. This is not only a doctrine of political domination but also an ideological virus that spreads throughout the world and holds people in its grip. In Germany, in particular, we can see people (originating from the Soviet Union or Russia) wildly celebrating the victory on May 9, instead of commemorating the victims of the Second World War. Elsewhere, we witness marches in support of Putin and declarations of hatred for the West. This dichotomy in the world, this black and white, which is disseminated through the framework of the “russkiy mir” narrative, turns conscientious citizens into radical fanatics who refuse to think critically and, instead, favor the simple picture of Russian propaganda. This picture breeds intolerance towards others, electoral support for open racists, and–before long–Russian tanks. That is why it is important to deconstruct and reveal how this ‘russkiy mir’ works,” says Kateryna Demerza, philosopher and member of Vitsche, Berlin, project partners.

The opening will take place on February 22 at 10:30 a.m. It will be attendedby representatives of German and Ukrainian civil society, intellectuals, and the media. The installation is open to the public until and including February 25 at Unter den Linden 63–65, 10117 Berlin.

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If you would like to take part in the opening event or have an interview request, please send it to [email protected] or call Felix Vosse on +49 176 708 792 15.

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