There are many things that visitors to the St Petersburg Economic Forum may be expecting: Russia’s re-branding of itself as a safe bet for foreign investors; an appearance by Nicolas Sarkozy, power point presentations. What they may not expect is a giant phallus. The drawing of the male organ, seen left, which is designed to imply arousal as the Liteiny Bridge rises
, was made by the Voina art collective, who have previously staged mock lynchings and collective sex
as critiques of political power. It may look like little more than gargantuan school toilet graffiti, and it is unlikely that most viewers of the bridge will realize that it is a pointed attack on ‘what the FSB and interior ministry are doing in terms of security for the forum’ .
It is nonetheless refreshing that in a city where political rallies tend to be crushed within hours of igniting, and the media are muffled by the authorities, that a large-scale, monumental protest act has managed to remain visible for this long. The tag made its first appearance on Monday, and has remained since. Doubtless the excitement will pass, as it always does. But for those of you who appreciate an effigy of manhood on a cityscape, never fear, for as one phallic symbol disappears so another shall rise: the Gazprom Tower is still in the making.