Okategoriserade A Precedent of the Pussy Riot Trial: the Trial and Suicide of Anna Al’chuk (2003-2008)

Comment on Pussy Riot: Reflections on Receptions It is not for the first time that feminism in Russia became an […]

Published on balticworlds.com on December 20, 2012

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Comment on Pussy Riot: Reflections on Receptions

It is not for the first time that feminism in Russia became an object of criminal investigation and persecution in court. In 2003, the feminist poet, artist, curator, and theoretician Anna Al’chuk (Mikhal’chuk) was accused of “offending the feelings of religious believers”. She was organizer of, and participant in, the art show ”Careful, Religion!” that had opened in January that year at the Sakharov centre in Moscow[1]. The Kafkaesque trial took about two years and was described by Anna herself in her notes that she was making at court during the sessions[2].  The judge ruled that the show was offending to the feelings of the believers. The Taganskii court in Moscow found the Sakharov museum director Iurii Samodurov and museum associate Liudmila Vasilovskaia guilty of inciting ethnic and religious hostility (Article 282 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), while Anna Al’chuk was acquitted. Several months later, together with her husband the philosopher Mikhail Ryklin, she left Moscow for Berlin. In March 2008, she was missing and in April, the police found her dead body in the Spree[3].


  1. Mikhail Ryklin, The New Science of Pogromology, http://www.chtodelat.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=184%3Athe-new-science-of-pogromology&catid=132%3A8-state-of-emergency&Itemid=434&lang=en
  2. http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=news&id=30478&type=view, http://www.portal-credo.ru/site/?act=monitor&id=5751. All publications concerning the trial, public protest letters as well as texts of the expert evaluation and the verdict can be found at http://www.gif.ru/themes/society/fashizm/alchuk/, all of them in Russian. In detail and with critical analysis, this episode is described by Mikhail Ryklin in Svastika, krest, zvezda. M.: Logos, 2006 (German translation, Mit dem Recht des Stärkeren. Die russische Kultur in Zeiten der gelenkten Demokratie. Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2006)
  3. Putin-Kritikerin tot aufgefunden, http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/vermisste-anna-michaltschuk-putin-kritikerin-tot-aufgefunden-a-546816.html; http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/putin-kritikerin-michaltschuk-tod-in-der-spree-a-546850.html