Abducted street artist released briefly, then imprisoned again
Donetsk artist Serhiy Zakharov, whose street installations ridiculing the Kremlin-backed militants led to his abduction was released on Aug 17, but has not returned since returning to try to get his documents back
Serhiy’s brother Andriy Zakharov explained to TSN.ua that Serhiy had been held in various cells of the SBU building under militant control on Aug 6-7. After that he was taking to another building where he and another hostage were held changed up. He was interrogated every day and subjected to torture, with the militants at very least fracturing ribs.
He was released on Sunday without any explanation, but also without his documents which remained in the SBU building. Unfortunately, after visiting the hospital on Aug 18, Serhiy Zakharov returned to the SBU building to try to get his documents back and did not come out.
Zakharov was abducted by a group of armed men who appeared at his home. His artwork and computer were also seized.
Rfel reports that “Zakharov’s installations, painted figures cut out of plywood, first appeared in the streets of Donetsk on July 11.
One of them represented Sharikov, the foolish hero of Mikhail Bulgakov’s cult novel "Heart of a Dog," wearing a uniform of the DNR. The others featured separatist fighters wearing various ominous masks.
A caricature of separatist commander Arsen Pavlov, known as "Motorola," then appeared outside the registry office in Donetsk where he had gotten married several days before. Pavlov was depicted as a horned devil flanked by a zombie-like bride.
"These installations were his form of protest," Marzurkevych says. "Many people in the city have similar sentiments but not all can speak up. With his installations, he sought to show that these feelings existed."
Perhaps Zakharov’s best-known installation targeted the DNR’s then "defense minister," Igor Girkin, aka Strelkov. The picture, which showed Strelkov holding a gun to his head with the caption "just do it," quickly went viral on the Internet.
Although Zakharov worked alone, he cast himself as a member of the art group "Murzilki." He initially chose "Murzilka" as his artist name. But on Marzurkevych’s advice, he later began using the word’s plural form to give the illusion more people were involved in the project.
Today, Marzurkevych wishes he had never suggested that change. "These men are now trying to find out from him who the other group members are," he says. "They don’t believe that a person can do what he did of his own free will, they think he is acting on orders from headquarters."
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