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A Closed Russia Not the Road to Peace

Russian artist Pavel Otdelnov wants to open for Russians to interact with others in arts and culture, academia, sports and business. Sending Russians home and closing all channels for communication do not lead to peace.

- I think we should be more open for communication. It is not right to close Russia from the outside, Pavel Otdelnov said after an artist talk at the Stockholm School of Economics last week.


Dramatically and maybe ironically, Pavel Otdelnov’s art show former Soviet plants for chemical weapons and an aggressive nuclear bomb research. Pavel is visiting Sweden with the exhibition “Promzona” in Uppsala Art Museum.

Chatting after his artist talk, we asked Pavel what he thinks about sanctions against ordinary Russians.

Could a re-opening for arts and culture, sports, business, academia contribute to peace?

-It’s a hard question. (long silence) Maybe entertainment should be closed. Except from that, I think it should open again.

As an artist, can you play a role in bringing people back together now?

- I hope so. (paus) Yes, we should talk about it, we should find a language to be able to talk about today’s circumstances. But it is difficult. - I think our society has this illness of imperialism. Unfortunately, not only the Russian society has it. Other big countries have too. Those with similar leaders. Pavel experience openness in Sweden. - Some people here try to continue connections. Not with the state and institutes, but with individuals, between artists, for instance. Do you think it is because you are openly against the war? - I think it is the only way humans can be, to be against war, killing people. For me it’s unbelievable how to support it. War is the worst thing in the world, he says in a low voice. - I feel that I lost my language to talk about it. After the photos from Bucha and from other cities, how to talk about it? What can I say after that? But I try and I hope it will be possible again, says Pavel Otdelnov. Next stop for Pavel Otdelnovs exhibition will probably be England. He seems on the way to become a dissident, a common epithet during the Soviet era.

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