By Thomas Grove
Two performance artists were arrested after pouring holy water on the Red Square tomb of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and shouting “Rise and be gone!”, Russian media reported.
The stunt, filmed on Monday and posted on the Internet, was cut short after two men detained the artists, who had passed through barriers cordoning off the red granite mausoleum where Bolshevik revolutionary leader lies embalmed.
The video showed them taking water out of a church on Jan. 19, a day when most Russian Orthodox faithful believe all water is holy, before pouring it on the walls and closed doors of the mausoleum. (http://grani.ru/Politics/Russia/activism/m.237023.html)
Police monitoring website OVDinfo said the two artists, members of the protest movement Blue Rider, had been charged with hooliganism and would be kept under arrest for 10 days.
Activists from the group told Russian online news outlet Grani.ru that the stunt entitled ‘The exorcism: desecration of the mausoleum’ had meant to symbolise an attempt to rid Russia from its Soviet past, which was again beginning to assert itself.
Lenin is still revered by many as the founder of the Soviet Union, and President Vladimir Putin still touts the former superpower’s achievements as a source of pride for Russians.