Russian-Jew museum director fired for art criticizing Sochi Olympics

I wonder what the International Olympic Committee has to say about this latest Stalinesque tragedy taking place under the authority of its good name.

It seems the curator of a Russian museum, Marat Guelman, was fired from his job after he refused to censor an art exhibit that had the audacity to criticize the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The exhibit was titled “Welcome Sochi 2014,” and was created by artist Vasily Slonov.

I also found a story showing that the same curator, Marat Guleman, has long been targeted by Russian nationalist groups who beat him, trashed his gallery, and deemed him “an enemy of Russia” because his last name is jewish. (Earlier, I’d linked to a site that mistakenly claimed the attack had just happened – in fact it happened in 2006.)

Any of this sounding familiar?

Here’s some of the exhibit that caused the furor:

Art Daily, in a story dated today, has more on the attack on Guelman:

Marat Guelman stated, “They stormed into the gallery, made the girls stand against the wall, began smashing everything down, then burst into my office and started beating me up and then they left. My face was smashed into meat. They chose the modern art and me as their enemy and they settled scores with me.”

A criminal investigation was opened by prosecutors. Several nationalist web sites list Guelman as an “enemy of Russia” for his Jewish last name.

So it’s no longer just gay and trans people who are being threatened in the name of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, and no longer Olympic athletes and guests who risk arrest and banishment during the Sochi Games, but now Russian Jews, who coincidentally have already been branded “enemies of the state,” are losing their jobs too.

But lest you think is just a Russian story, think again.

One of the reasons the Russians are using for going after Guelman? That he violated the copyright and/or trademark of the 2014 Winter Olympics. And that, my friends, directly involves the International Olympic Committee in Russia’s neo-stalinist attempt to clamp down on all human rights in that sadly deteriorating country.

From NBC:

Russian Internet portal Lifenews also reported that authorities had raided Guelman’s former offices at the museum. It added that officials had launched a legal case into Slonov’s works, alleging he had used Sochi 2014 symbols without permission.

That means this man – this Russian Jew – is being politically persecuted in the name of the Olympics.  What does the IOC have to say about that?

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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55 Responses to “Russian-Jew museum director fired for art criticizing Sochi Olympics”

  1. goulo says:

    That was well worth reading indeed. Really disturbing story. Thanks for the link.

  2. bruce says:

    It is time for the US to do something, say something, this tyrant is going to set human rights back 80 years. A boycott of the Olympics is not enough, being a Gay-Jew who has been prosecuted for both I find it appalling that this story whose victims are innocent teens and now business people is allowed to go unanswered by our government. A luke warm speech by our President just does not cut the mustard. We need to set a red line and stick to it, this kind of behavior should not be tolerated. We are supposed to set a example for the rest of the world. If the United states and other free world nations do not take this abuse seriously we will end up with another Nazi Germany, history does repeat itself. Cut this nasty evil mans intentions off now while the world still has the chance. Stop thinking about the financial concerns, human rights should trump the financial issues.

  3. Cindi Saw says:

    The reported incidences of violence in Russia before the commencement of 2014 Winter Olympics is really alarming.


  4. ericxdc says:

    russian society craves two things: totalitarian leadership and scapegoating. It’s an ironic shame that such an interesting nation that is so rich in resources and culture can be so self-destructively evil as well.

  5. ericxdc says:

    substitute “jew” (or any minority group) for “gay.” It’s not a long road from russian rhetoric to pogroms and extermination. The need to demonize of “the other” is deeply ingrained in many cultures. This is why russia will never be a full and free democracy nor a power for good in the world. No matter how they try, their only source of power comes from fear and strength.

    And, the only thing keeping the radical right in the US at bay is there are more sane people here to serve as a counterweight. But, no doubt, they would be doing the EXACT same thing if given the slightest opportunity. Goodness knows they’ve already said the exact same things over and over and fully support russia’s actions.

  6. Indigo says:

    Yeah, well . . . all things being equal, we’re here to blog. :-)

  7. vyduxawanuxe says:

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kAgk

    The tide of opinion seems to be turning. I don’t think it likely the
    games will be moved or there will be mass boycotts. But the games are
    not going to be the expected propaganda triumph for Putin. The point is
    to get the message across.

  8. MrChirpsky says:

    Understanding “Why?” is the theme of the most recent book by philosopher Leonard Peikoff, “The DIM Hypothesis:
    Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out.” At the same time, it can never
    be too soon to begin the process of rebuilding your civilization by fighting ignorance with rational principles.

  9. MrChirpsky says:

    Understanding why is the theme of a recent book, “The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out.” But I hold that, “It is never too soon to begin the process of rebuilding your civilization.” – Jae Alexander

  10. UncleBucky says:

    At one point, I had an idea of taking a European vacation starting way north in Finland, doing shopping in Leningrad, and….

    Ahhhh, never mind…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Side note – the church and state are converging here in the US, too. Last year FL churches wanted to amend laws to RECEIVE taxes. There was a bill on the ballot! They called the amendment “Religious Freedom,” and churches put up misleading signs. Ridiculously shady.

  12. Bill_Perdue says:

    The fact is that the US and Western Europe are sewers of racism, woman hatting and homophobia. Paytriots and defenders of ‘western civilization’ will of course be enraged by stating that simple truth.

    Anyone who pretends that civil rights laws in the US ended institutionalized racism is grossly wrong about US politics in general and the course of American history. ‘Civil Rights’ and all political rights in the absence of economic democracy – socialism – are not a solution. “The black unemployment rate rose to 14.4% in June, a sharp contrast to the white unemployment rate, which stayed put at 7.4%. NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — As the overall U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 8.2% in June, the rate among black Americans rose nearly a full percentage point.

    “According to the National Urban League‘s 2013 “State Of Black America” address, while there has been some progress, African Americans are still being hit hard by socioeconomic disparities. Back in 1963, Black unemployment was at 10 percent; currently, it stands at 13 percent. Unemployment rates for Black men and women are 2 times higher than their White counterparts. In addition, African Americans only make 90 cents on the dollar compared to White Americans in the private sector. Unfortunately, that number dropped to 88 cents per dollar in the public sector.”

  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    The firestorm came, as usual, from FLL.

    The EU and the former Soviet states are, like the US, cesspools of homohating, misogyny and racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. Of those. Islamophobia is the prime campaign of ultrarightists, Nazis and neo-Nazis and zionists and is responsible for most of the racist discrimination, harassment like the racist burqa laws in France. (1) This racism promotes violence including murders. Pretending it doesn’t exist is the constant refrain of rightists like FLL.

    I really doubt that it will take the Arab Spring another hundred years to come to terms with the zionist colony in Palestine. There was a great deal of fuss when the crusader colony was crushed by Saladin and the muslim armies.

    The Burqa laws wouldn’t be described as racist if similar laws were passed forbidding the wearing of religious garb by nuns and priests of the baby raper cult.

  14. BeccaM says:

    Because that’s what the top skinhead, aka Mr. Putin, wants.

  15. FLL says:

    The authorities are giving them tacit permission to run the show. There is no other explanation.

  16. FLL says:

    In the same vein as karmanot’s comment, I think your series of articles on repression in Russia has sparked a discussion on the same level as the discussion you and Joe Sudbay sparked in June of 2009 with your critique of the DOJ brief defending DOMA. Definitely two high points in the history of your blog.

  17. FLL says:

    OK, I can see where you might think that my reply to Bill Perdue was too lengthy. If it had been anyone else, I would have just posted a one-line reply like “Serbia and Bosnia are outside the EU.” However, Bill Perdue’s comment did not occur in a vacuum. His never-ending narrative is that countries where civil rights have succeeded to a large degree are “the bad people,” and he always describes those countries as “much worse” than places where civil rights are horrendously ignored, which are “the good people.” This narrative extends throughout Bill Perdue’s comment history. I’ll try to keep my replies briefer.

  18. karmanot says:

    John, these series of articles, I think, will comprise the nexus of one of the most important human rights stories of the past decade. The propaganda arrayed against this ‘truth telling’ by corporate media in this country is considerable. U Tube is blocking any anti corporate messaging regarding the IOC sponsors. Local news channels in SF and the Bay area are consistently poo-pooing the story, although MSNBC and Lawrence O’Donnell have given it some national attention. As far as I know Missy Rachel is silent on the subject. President Obama did a token regret about human rights violations, but continues the supportive line about the integrity of sportsmanship and blah, blah, blah, The challenges are considerable. Keep up the great work!!!!! And thank you for doing it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    IOC’s goal: to bring the Olympics to places where cheap labor can be exploited. They know what they’re doing.

  20. BeccaM says:

    Everything seems to be happening faster these days.

  21. Indigo says:

    Moral leadership from the United States? Not since a long time ago.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Why are skinheads allowed to run the show there? It’s disgusting.

  23. FLL says:

    You may have good points to make concerning human rights in the Middle East. I hope you use a holistic rubric and include the rights of all groups: Palestinians, gay people, women, etc. As far as scottrose, I get the impression that his family name might freak out people in… oh, let’s see… a small town like Planet Kolob, Utah. Nothing to get freaked out about. In the early 19th century, German Jews became legally emancipated and had to come up with “last names” and register those names in the town register. So they came up with fanciful names with English translations such as “rose mountain” (Rosenberg), “linden tree” (Lindenbaum)… or maybe just plain “rose” (Rose). Tell the folks in Planet Kolob, Utah to relax. (Sometimes I think they need to.) It’s just an accident of European history.

  24. Indigo says:

    That set off quite a fire storm. The only comment I have is the editorial observation that the EU is not all of Europe. I’m not much taken by the EU. I think it’s another Franco-German banking scheme that serves no real purpose beyond bankers’ games. My point is merely editorial, that when speaking of the continent of Europe, readers understand best on a country-by-country basis. As for “the European Zionist colony in Palestine,” you got no flames off of that eyebrow-raiser. I don’t disagree with that interpretation of the circumstances but time goes on and things resettle. The medieval Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted about 150 years and then crumpled into the local setting with little fuss. I expect a similar resolution to settle into place as time goes on.

  25. Indigo says:

    The wheel is turning quite a bit faster than expected.

  26. Bill_Perdue says:

    I think scottrose is a zionist defending IDF thugs. Are you still pretending that Western Europe is not a hotbed of Islamophobic, racist and zionist violence against Arabs, Turks and muslims? Or do you admit that you’re wrong?

  27. Bill_Perdue says:

    Just for you information I didn’t claim they were. But I do claim that EU troops allowed the Serbian ethnic cleansing to proceed. “”The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide, was the July 1995 killing of more than 8,000 Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War. The killing was perpetrated by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić. The mass murder was described by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War. A paramilitary unit from Serbia known as the Scorpions, officially part of the Serbian Interior Ministry until 1991, participated in the massacre, along with several hundred Russian and Greek volunteers. In April 1993, the United Nations declared the besieged enclave of Srebrenica in the Drina Valley of north-eastern Bosnia a
    “safe area” under UN protection. However, in July 1995, the United
    Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), represented on the ground by a 400-strong contingent of Dutch peacekeepers, Dutchbat, did not prevent the town’s capture by the VRS and the subsequent massacre.

    Are you still pretending that Western Europe is not a hotbed of Islamophobic, racist and zionist violence against Arabs, Turks and muslims? Or do you admit that you’re wrong?

  28. FLL says:

    I don’t think scottrose was questioning that “the same” refers to the “ethnic cleansing” in the same sentence. I think scottrose is referring to your unique (or “cute”) writing style, where you list atrocities with statistics from one country in one sentence, and then in the following sentence, you make a statement about a completely different country using the phrase “the same.” I think scottrose is asking a question about writing style, not grammar.

  29. FLL says:

    Just for your information, Serbia and Bosnia are not “in the EU.”

  30. Bill_Perdue says:

    Try reading instead of creating fake issues.

  31. Bill_Perdue says:

    You and FLL will just have to learn to read. Same refers to ethnic cleansing by IDF thugs. Are you denying that reality.

  32. Bill_Perdue says:

    Racist murders of Turks, Arabs and muslims and molestation of muslim women occur in countries like England, France and Germany.

    Google and you’ll see that your denial of the lethal effects of racist Islanmophobia are wrong. Bosnia Herzegovina is the only place it led to ethnic cleansing, so far.

    However the sentiments that could lead to more of that are certainly present in France, England and of course the US. “Several violent attacks against Muslim women preceded the riots in France. One of the most severe incidents occurred on 13 June, when two men physically abused a 21 year-old pregnant woman. Muslim women are increasingly the victims of violence. In France in 2012, 85 percent of anti-Muslim reported incidents targeted women, and other countries demonstrate similar figures. The UK experienced a significant increase in anti-Muslim violence after the Woolwich killing, and the NGO Tell Mama recorded 12 incidents per week on average between March 2012 and March 2013. Most of these incidents concerned Muslim women.

    I’m sure you needn’t worry that people will mistake the Balkans for the Benelux region. Few are daft enough to even raise the question.

  33. FLL says:

    True. In the last paragraph, after the sentence about the deaths (100,000) and rapes (50,000) in Serbia and Bosnia (which are outside the European Union), he uses the phrase “the same” in reference to Israel and Palestine. I’m not sure how literally he meant the phrase “the same.”

  34. scottrose says:

    The commenter Bill Perdue made a preamble with the sole purpose of demonizing Israel. Oh if Bill says that Israel has killed 100,000 and raped 50,000 it must be true, right?

  35. Jim Olson says:

    Nothing. The gutless, purely profit driven IOC has nothng to say.

  36. FLL says:

    Many “likes.” Very succinct.

  37. BeccaM says:

    The past is but prologue, and the wheel of history is turning full circle once more…

    I remain steadfast in saying that there’s not a whole lot we little people can do — except to go after the Olympics corporate sponsors and pogrom enablers.

  38. FLL says:

    Not to pick nits, but the civilian deaths and rapes in the Yugoslav Civil War of the 1990s, which you refer to in your last paragraph, occurred between Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. Neither Serbia nor Bosnia and Herzegovina are members of the European Union today. Serbia is a candidate, and Bosnia has not yet applied. Your last paragraph leads the reader to the wrong conclusion. You make it sound like the deaths and rapes of civilian Muslims occurred among NATO allies in Western and Central Europe, rather than in the Balkan Peninsula, which would give the reader a very inaccurate picture of Western and Central Europe.

  39. nicho says:

    And the Russian Orthodox bullies are being aided in their anti-gay pogroms by the Evangelicals in the US. These are the same “Christians” backing the anti-gay hate laws in Africa. We need to start taxing the bejeesus out of the churches. Shut down the hate groups, the child rape organizations, etc. They have become criminal enterprises.

  40. cole3244 says:

    russia has their groups to persecute as does america the only difference is in the degree and whether the majority will tolerate the practice or raise their voice in opposition.

  41. FLL says:

    You know, John, I’m so glad that you bring up the issue of copyright and trademark because I am sooooo ticked off about what happened on YouTube yesterday. I posted a perfectly reasonable comment that included a link to a very creative video, which was posted on YouTube, satirizing the fact that McDonald’s Corporation is one of the sponsors of the Sochi Olympics. (Here is the link to my comment on yesterday’s thread.) I think that political satire has an honored place in history going back to Jonathan Swift and beyond, into the distant past. Some people at YouTube disagree, it seems. No sooner did I post my comment on your blog than the YouTube police took it down. Go to my comment on the previous link. Don’t click on the URL name; click on the small video icon underneath the URL, and you’ll get this message:

    “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten”

    Oh, is that so? Well, the folks at YouTube apply that policy rather selectively. John, you posted an earlier entry (here
    is the link to your entry) that included a link to a video of a young gay Uzbeki water being threatened and abused by neo-fascist Russians
    is the link to the YouTube video).
    It’s strange that this violent video doesn’t run afoul of YouTube’s policy “prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten.” Oh, I get it. The people at YouTube object to the satirical video that I linked to in my comment because it’s violating “the copyright and/or trademark of the 2014 Winter Olympics” (as you say in your post above), and also the copyright/trademark of McDonalds.

    Too bad. The creative video contest is still on. Create a video for each Olympic sponsor. Depictions of atrocities are still accepted. There are still awards for the best video. Here is the link to the first contest entry (from yesterday), and the link is on Facebook:

    And tell the copyright/trademark police at YouTube to stuff it.

  42. magster says:

    Leno really did a service in a question by comparing the ban on homosexuality to 1930s Germany when interviewing Obama, and his question now appears even more prescient.

  43. Bill_Perdue says:

    Anti-semitism is part of the legacy of Tsarism and the Russian orthodox cult. It officially resurfaced from time to time under the Stalinists, as in the ‘Doctors Plot’. It’s still simmers in the neo-Nazi and skinhead movements in Russia and of course among the Russian orthodox and ‘old believers’ cults.

    It’s on a par with Islamophobic violence in the US. “Shortly after the Islamic Society of Joplin opened a mosque in 2007 in Joplin, a small town in Southwest Missouri, the sign in front was set on fire, an act determined to be arson. On the 4th of July of this year, someone who is undoubtedly a deeply patriotic person was filmed by a surveillance camera throwing a flaming object onto the roof of the mosque in an attempt to burn it down, causing some fire damage…” Glen Greenwald

    Islamophobic violence is much worse in the EU, where anti-muslim violence killed 100,000 people and led to an estimated total of 20,000 to 50,000 rapes. It was ethnic cleansing and the same happens to Palestinians in the European zionist colony in Palestine.

  44. Jay says:

    Yes, there are eerie similarities between the Nazi Olympics and the Putin Olympics. The U.S. and other countries need to exercise some moral leadership and refuse to be blind to the fascism that is developing before our eyes. See the blog at about the real lesson of the Nazi Olympics:

  45. Amy says:

    I agree with you, only, he wasn’t beaten. That happened 7 years ago.

  46. Thanks Amy, you’re right – the site I linked to was copying a story from 2006. I’ve updated the story above.

    Still, it goes to show that this curator was already on an “enemy’s List” for being Jewish, and now he’s on the Olympics enemies list. So it still illustrates the intersection of the various problems.

  47. QueeRevolutionary says:

    sign & share this petition to MOVE the #PutinPogromOlympics out of Russia

  48. QueeRevolutionary says:

    Pogroms started centuries before Stalin & Hitler

    Now that the Russian Orthodox Jesus Freak cult is back in power those pogroms continue against Jews and now gays using the same blood libel propaganda.

    Tell IOC to move Olympics and not make the same political statement they made when they let Nazis “HOST” the Nazi Olympics

    Tell IOC here and here
    Tell they are aiding & abetting genocide
    Tell that unless they think the only good gays are gay bashed Jews and the only good Jews are dead Jews they MUST Boycott Sochi & DEMAND the IOC MOVE THE OLYMPICS

  49. Amy says:

    FYI, I believe at least part of this story is from 2006.

  50. Indigo says:

    Okay. It’s now officially a rerun. We’ve seen this movie (1933-1945) and we don’t want to see it again. It isn’t clear to me who duped the Russian people but it is clear that both the Russian Orthodox Church and Mr. Putin are implicated.

  51. Monoceros Forth says:

    The situation grows more and more grotesque by the day. This is shaping up to be one of those most shambolic Olympiads ever. The way it’s going, there’s going to be a full-on White Terror before the games even start.

  52. Houndentenor says:

    A must read personal story from Seattle Gay News:

  53. TJ Wright says:

    In Russia, they came first for the __________,
    And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a ____________.

  54. MyrddinWilt says:

    Stephen Fry has just come out for an olympics boycott:

    The tide of opinion seems to be turning. I don’t think it likely the games will be moved or there will be mass boycotts. But the games are not going to be the expected propaganda triumph for Putin. The point is to get the message across.

  55. voltronforce says:

    This is sick

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