Russian street art has a reputation as a cultural marginal — they are admired, will present at the exhibitions, but at the same time trying to regulate and “to domesticate”. With graffiti, you can revive the faceless grey “sockets”, but the drawings are usually destroyed immediately after application. When the author of the work in advance informs the utility that he wants to make graffiti on the facade, killing the essence of the phenomenon, and even compliance with all protocols does not guarantee the absence of conflicts with the public. Protest against beauty — in the material “”.

Street art remains somewhat of an edge: like and not art in the classic sense, but not childish scrawl. The question of where this boundary remains controversial: sometimes the familiar penises on the walls, trying to put as a complete picture. Currently, increasingly there are calls on the need to develop street art, but at the same time, the artists tie the hands, imposing their rules of the game.

At the end of may in Saint Petersburg, opposite the Museum of Joseph Brodsky appeared a portrait of the famous poet. It drew artists from the Association “URBAN-fresco” gallery under the open sky.

“In the day of his 80th birthday Brodsky returned Pestel street — looking right at your balcony in the house where he lived in those four rooms and where they are gone forever. But poets always come back” — said in Instagram artists.

However, the next day, the art object is painted over. It turned out that this involved the supply Manager of school №189 — the work was in its territory.

“You know that in school to do graffiti not? No hang, no hang, no you can not write. We go under control! Contact GATI! (The state administrative-technical inspection — approx. “Of the”) Because it is the decision of the CAUSEWAY that state agencies should not be any graffiti,” said the woman.


Frustrated citizens have repeatedly tried to scrape off the paint and even began to write poetry at the former site of the murals.


“it is a Pity that the words "X*" and "N****" the walls don’t obscure so quickly! Hung for years!” — complained to one of the Internet users.

Artist Oleg Lukyanov, the leader of the Association, said that if he wants his work did not touch, — it is necessary to inform and make arrangements.

the “a Celebration of art for all”

The story of Brodsky, unfortunately, very typical: a street art piece because of its neformatnosti outlawed. Cases where the pattern failed to defend a real victory, and such stories of the unit (it is not about the festival but also for natural images). Although if you remember the emergence of street art in Russia, it was very revolutionary, but went one up with a state policy and not contradict it.

In 1918, a creative Association LEF (“Left front of arts”) published a decree On “democratization of the arts (fence literature and areal painting)”. It was signed by the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, artist, poet and Aviator Vasily Kamensky, as well as a poet and artist David Burliuk. All writers of the Lef preached the documentary and the so-called social order is a reflection of the trends and mood of society.

The document declared that in connection with the beginning of a new era”, the domicile of art in the closets and sheds of human genius — palaces, galleries, salons, libraries, theaters” — is over. Now for the pictures have found a new place “Free speech” the creative person says, “at the crossroads of house walls, fences, roofs, streets of our towns, villages and on the backs of cars, carriages, trams and dresses of all citizens.”

According to the authors of the Manifesto, the streets had become “a celebration of art for all”, and citizens that might enjoy the “deep thoughts great contemporaries” and “to contemplate the beautiful flowery brightness of joy today.”

“Let the bright rainbows will spread pattern (colors) in the streets and squares, from house to house, delighting, ennobling the eye (taste) of the passer,” wrote lipovtsy.

The most famous follower of the enterprises was the avant-gardist Kazimir Malevich — the author of famous “Black square”. In 1920, the artist painted with his creative group UNOVIS (“Asserters of new art”) a few facades in Vitebsk in the style of Suprematism, this improvement was timed to the third anniversary of the October revolution.

Following the art-object was a House of Mosselprom in Moscow is a monument of avant — gardism and constructivism. On the front left inscriptions on the sketches of the photographer, poster artist and graphic Alexander Rodchenko (ally of Mayakovsky in “Windows of GROWTH”). On the walls of the building depicted products (sweets, cigarettes, chocolates, beer and bottled water) with the slogan “Nowhere but in Mosselprom!” — it was invented by Vladimir Mayakovsky. According to the memoirs of contemporaries, goods in Mosselprom was expensive and they needed aggressive advertising.

In fact, the history of the Russian street art began with praise of the new foundations. In the West it was more of a Declaration and protest. The first “monument” was the inscription “Here was Kilroy” (Kilroy was here) — it allegedly left the Boston inspector James Kilroy, who in the years of the Second world war checked the ships in the shipyards.

Graffiti “there was a keel��Oh” Photo: LR_PTY / Flickr

Over time, the popularity of tags (autographs) is rapidly increased, for example, actively began to leave the train cars. But in those moments when the youth were dissatisfied, and went to rallies, the number of graffiti dramatically increased — on the walls there were many anarchist slogans and satirical drawings. Later, many gangs began to use street art as a label for the areas that were subject to their power. So graffiti has ceased to be something known to be harmless and depending on context could be as effective advertising, and by way of protest.

the for your Sake

The authorities nearly always react to graffiti writers (the authors of the inscriptions) on the principle of “find and neutralize”. Work systematically and methodically painted over, and the patterning was seen as vandalism — the desecration of buildings or other constructions, property damage on public transport or in other public places.

Usually each region has its own rules about street art, defined by local norms of the law on improvement. For example, in Moscow these amendments the MPs introduced in 2018, but they entered into force only a year later due to multiple approvals. Under the new rules, all existing and future graffiti should be coordinated with the city Department of housing, advertising and graffiti needs to be painted.


The head of the Department of media and advertising Ivan Shubin told that from now on the artist when submitting the design project must submit a technical report on the state of the facade, otherwise the documents will not be accepted. Then within a maximum of 30 days, the project will coordinate with other city services. But this is not a complete list of restrictions. The figure should correspond to certain subjects: science, art, sports, historical events and prominent personalities.

It is important to obtain the consent of the owners of the house.

“in addition, the patterning must be included in the agreement — to understand how long it is (not more than five years) who and how will monitor its technical condition and its restoration in case of need,” explains Shubin.

If approved graffiti to put it on the building from 1 April to 1 November, and within a specified period depending on the area of the image, for example, on a 500-meter street is given work week.

This policy effectively put an end to the graffiti writers.

“the Officials wanted to regulate the industry, but have thrown out the baby with the water. The work of street artists is impossible because this number of approvals,” — said the organizer of the thematic festivals Ivan Panteleev.

He doesn’t understand how that allowed subjects to “draw graffiti on tourism, space or childbirth,” and he doubts that the employees of the Department of housing Commission “will find an understanding of the work of artists, foreigners.”

Officials, in turn, explained the amendments concern about the appearance of Moscow and its attractiveness to tourists.

“Support the draft law because I like to live in a clean city. And I don’t like when some writing or questionable image spoil the view of guests of the capital. Violators need to be punished rigidly. The proposed algorithm is well designed by the Moscow government. The document is clear and transparent. I am sure that the majority of Muscovites will agree with us,” said the Chairman of the Commission of Moscow city Council on social policy and labor relations, Chairman of the Moscow trade Union Federation Mikhail Antontsev.

the Presumption of vandalism

Under the steamroller of the new restrictions came several iconic graffiti in the capital. For example, Bauman street has removed a portrait of a theater Director Konstantin Stanislavsky (work even listed in the guides to Moscow) — supposedly it took the overhaul of the facade.

However, such cases occur not only in Moscow, in Chelyabinsk, in General there was something blatant. There painted coordinated with all authorities and tenants mural (large image, usually in the wall) — the girl with a loaf, greets guests. Despite the fact that this design project has won the competition for landscaping, this did not prevent local advertisers to paint work — they claimed the facade of the building to place their banners.

Dmitri Ring

“because Of these people and organizations our city will always be in one is, without any changes for the better. We will have to draw again. Today will try to get it off the paint with water,” complained the head of the Association “Graffiti Russia” Dmitry Ring.

It should be noted that the use of muralov as the decoration of sleeping areas encouraged and Vladimir Putin. Such graffiti has transformed the suburban New Trekhgorka (Odintsovo district). Scale drawings appeared in the international art festival Urban Morphogenesis, which took place in October 2019.

The event has contributed to the economic development of the area.

“the Artists went drank coffee, started to bring tourists on the day we arrived the bus with the Chinese tourists, residents give tours to them” — shared the then Minister of the Moscow region government on social communications Irina Preseva.

Hard the fate of two graffiti from St. Petersburg. The author is a group HoodGraff. The first work dedicated to actor and Director Sergei Bodrov, who was killed in the Karmadon gorge during an avalanche. In 2014, when the transformer box and there was the graffiti, the tragedy was 12 years old.

However, a fighter for the rights of homosexuals ruined the job, leaving her own slogans such as “In what force, brother? IN THE LGBT COMMUNITY”. Local residents protested this blasphemy (“For Bodrova can face stuff”), and one of them restored the portrait. Subsequently HoodGraff drew another Bodrov-younger.


Graffiti coach of the Russian national football team Stanislav Cherchesov came after the success of Russia in the 2018 world Cup. The image of the coach was accompanied by the inscription “Stas, you just space!”. But frustrated football fans after the defeat of the Russian team in the match with Croatia “cut” in the portrait index finger Cherchesov. At his gesture they spotted the informal symbol of the Polish club Legia, although the authors persistently denied it.

HoodGraff painted another portrait of the coach, but the picture is messed up again — on the Top left the inscription “Why the world Cup is held in a homophobic country?”. Also the district administration’s persistent complaints from one citizen, who demanded to remove the portrait. In the end, after the raids of the fans and wars with the utilities group is completely painted over graffiti coach, leaving a dark wall with only the inscription “Still have questions?”.

In a similar conflict was the artist Pokras Lampas. He painted Suprematist cross on the pavement in Yekaterinburg and inside it put the excerpt from the Manifesto by Kazimir Malevich. The work was done in the framework of the festival “Scenografia” and agreed upon by all authorities. But a few days later the object appeared special equipment and began to roll the piece into the asphalt.

Rumors reached the Governor, who in his Instagram account has described the situation as a bad history and promised all to understand, but also to restore the installation. It turned out that the noise arose because of Orthodox activists, “because to trample the feet of the cross, though in the form of graffiti, a believer is very embarrassing”. Dye still was resumed, but under pressure from the masses it has lost the cross, transformed into a set of rectangles.


Graffiti always carries a message, whether it be the perpetuation of his own name like “there was Peter” or Grand murals on ostrosotsialnye topic. This is a separate language, as painting or sculpture, reflecting the spirit of the time. It is impossible to fully adjust, it will remain spontaneous, torque and burning. ��if you do not understand, do not understand hints and allusions, the art, and all the unknown causes fear.

With street art easy, inexpensive and most importantly for the budget to transform dull areas into a unique urban space, which can later become a place of pilgrimage for tourists. However, most officials are not yet aware of these benefits, they still see strange art, something foreign and dangerous. Hence the desire to regulate, although it is obvious that creativity without freedom of expression it is impossible, no artist in their right mind would wait for approval of their work. While the government does not understand this obvious fact and will not create comfortable conditions, potential masterpieces will be equated to vandalism and destroyed.