VOINA. A street collective of actionist artists who engage in political protest art. Political orientation: anarchist. Enemies: philistines, cops, the regime. Organization type: militant gang, dominated by horizontal ties in everyday life and employing vertical relationships during actions. The group preaches renunciation of money and disregard towards the law (“the no-whoring way”). Founded by Vor and Kozlenok in October 2005, the group was named after Vor (“War”). Initially, Voina actions were clandestine and anonymous, and were called “training” or “practice”. Voina has enjoyed public recognition since 2008. To date, over 200 activists have participated in Voina actions. At least 20 criminal investigations into the group’s activities have been initiated, some of them still ongoing. According to Russia’s Investigations Committee,
“Art group VOINA’ is a left-wing radical anarchist collective whose central goal is to carry out PR actions directed against the authorities, and specifically against law enforcement officials with the aim of discrediting them in the eyes of the public. Branches of VOINA exist in all major Russian cities. The group’s sympatizers number approximately 3000. VOINA members maintain contacts with anarchist groups and individuals from all around the world holding left-wing radical views on art and on the world order (Italy, Slovakia, France, USA, South Africa, Greece)”.
Bio of VOINA activists
Vor (Oleg Vorotnikov). Artist, activist and the leader of Voina. Born August 17th, 1978 in Bereznyaki, Perm Krai. Oleg has been involved in arts since 1995. He renounced the use of money in 1998. Since 1999, Oleg has been concentrating on social practices in urban space. In 1999 he married artist Kozlenok (Natalia Sokol). Oleg graduated from Moscow State University’s philosophy department in 2003. In the fall of 2005, he began doing street art with Kozlenok, forming the art collective Voina. Oleg has participated in every Voina action to date. In 2006-2007 he worked as the head of the information department at Moscow State Cinema Museum. Vor and Kozlenok’s son Kasper Can’t-Take-Our-Eyes-Off-Him Sokol was born on April 19th, 2009. Kasper became Voina’s youngest member. In November 2010, the Russian Federation initiated a politically motivated parental rights termination process against Oleg. He was incarcerated in St. Petersburg from November 2010 to February 2011 on charges related to Voina’s Palace Revolution action (article 213 part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code). n May 2011 he was declared a federally wanted fugitive. In July 2011 Russian police issued an international arrest warrant for Oleg. He is unemployed and homeless, facing charges under articles 213, 318 and 319 of the Russian Criminal Code (criminal case #276858) in connection with the “Palace Revolution” action and with his participation in an opposition rally on March 31st, 2011 in St. Petersburg.
Kozlenok aka Koza (Natalia Sokol). Artist, activist, author of Voina actions and the group’s chief coordinator. Born June 3rd, 1980 in Balakovo, Saratov Oblast. Kozlenok renounced the use of money after meeting artist Vor (Oleg Vorotnikov) in 1998. She’s been married to Oleg since 1999. In 2003, she graduated from Moscow State University’s physical department. She finished grad school there in 2006. Kozlenok holds a PhD in physics, and is affiliated with the sub-department of molecular physics at MSU. She’s been doing street art since the fall of 2005 as a member of Voina, and has participated in every Voina action to date. On April 19th, 2009 she gave birth to Kasper Can’t-Take-Our-Eyes-Off-Him Sokol, Voina’s youngest activist. In November 2010, the Russian Federation initiated a politically motivated parental rights termination process against Kozlenok. She’s been living without any documents since November 15th, 2010, when Russian police seized all her papers. In August 2011 she was declared a federally wanted fugitive. Kozlenok is homeless and facing charges under article 319 of the Russian Criminal Code (criminal case #299810) in connection with an incident on March 31st, 2011 in which police officers were doused with urine during an opposition rally in St. Petersburg.
Kasper Can’t-Take-Our-Eyes-Off-Him Sokol. Artist, Voina member since birth. Born April 19th, 2009 on a ship in Moscow. Stateless. Participated in every Voina action since May 2009. Voina’s youngest activist. In November 2010, the Russian Federation initiated a politically motivated parental rights termination process against Kasper’s parents Kozlenok (Natalia Sokol) and Vor (Oleg Vorotnikov). Kasper has been beaten twice and arrested three times (twice in 2011 alone) by Russian police in connection with Voina’s activity. He is homeless.
Leo the Fucknut (Leonid Nikolaev). Artist, Voina activist. Born December 27th, 1983 in Moscow. College dropout (studied materials science). Leonid has been participating in Voina actions since December 2009. In May 2010 he was titled Voina President after a series of actions against killer VIP drivers (“Leo the Fucknut is our President” (“Leo the Fucknut is our President”). He was incarcerated in St. Petersburg from November 2010 to February 2011 on charges related to Voina’s “Palace Revolution” action (article 213 part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code). Leonid has been a member of the political council at the Moscow branch of Solidarnost, a united democratic movement. He is continuously involved in opposition activity in Russia, and has been arrested in excess of 30 times. Leonid currently lives in Moscow. He is unemployed and facing charges under articles 213 of the Russian Criminal Code (criminal case #276858) in connection with the “Palace Revolution” action.
Plut (Alexei Plutser-Sarno) is a media artist of the Voina Group. Born July 9, 1962 in Moscow. Served as a seaman in the Red Banner Northern Fleet. Graduated from the Philosophy department of the Tartu University (Estonia) in 1992. He is an author of a few books, hundreds of articles, dozens of art projects. On July 24, 2006 he joined the Voina Group, which was founded by Oleg Vorotnikov and Natalia Sokol un 2005. He is an author of all media art, texts and conceptions of the group. Keeps the blog “IRONIC NOTES FROM RUSSIA ABOUT PROTEST STREET ART AND RADICAL POLITICAL ARTISTS”, where all art actions of the Voina Group have been published. On November 15, 2010 after the arrest of Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolayev, he had to leave his home in Moscow and cut all social relations. Changes his place of staying every month. The only way of communication is via email. In 2011 he initiated the VOINA WANTED action in support of Oleg Vorotnikov and Natalia Sokol, who were put on the international wanted list by the Federal Security Service of Russia.
Action “Crazy Lenya is our President!” 22 May 2010. Action with demand to deprive cars with special blue signal flashers of rights to break the regulations of road traffic roughly. Video, Reportage with word of Lenya,Photо
Action “Concert in courtroom”. 29 May 2009. Action with demand to stop criminal prosecution of Andrey Erofeev and Jury Samodurov and to stop all criminal cases against Russian art-community, initiated by right-wing radicals.Reportage, Video, Photo
Action “Banning of clubs”. 28 December 2008. NewYear`sgiftofgrouptoallRussians. Reportage, Video, Photo
Action “Storm of White House”. 7 November 2008. This action in anniversary of Great October Revolution. Reportage, Video, Photo
Action “In memory of Decembrists”. 7 September 2008. Dramatized “execution” in city holiday of Moscow.Action expressed distrust to Yury Luzhkov`s policy. Reportage, Video, Photо
Action “Censorship SUX”. 22 May 2008. Action in defense of social art, the main school in contemporary art. Reportage, Video, Photo
Action “Upbringing of cop in his house”. Action-congratulation of president in day of inauguration. Group had been hanging portraits of new president in police departments. Video, 1 part, Video, 2 part, Photo, Reportage
Action “F*ck for the heir – Medved`s little Bear!” 29 February 2008. “Magical” action. Video, Reportage, Photo
Action “Monument to Prigov”. 28 November 2007. Action in Central House of Artist, dedicated to the late D.A. Prigov. Video, Photo
Action “Feast”. 24 August 2007.Funeral feast in memory of D.A. Prigov. Video
Action “Mordovian Hour”. 1 May 2007.Action-congratulation of all working people with May Day.Also action went off in token of animal protection. Photo
Goals and objectives of the Art-Group Voina in the period 2008-2010
Rebirth of heroical behavioral ideals of an artist-intellectual, in a manner of Russian libertarian decemberism. Creation of image of artist as romantic hero, who prevail over the evil. Creation of lively romantic models in today`s soulless commercial conceptual art.
Rebirth of lively expressive art, which is sincere and honest and provoking observers` deep emotional experience. Actualizationof monumental expressive genres, where large scale harmonizes with totally rich in content orientation, in contrast to outdated hypertrophy of forms, which deovid of sense.
Creation of innovative topical art-language, which is producing for pure art, but not for a money. It is mean language, which is adequate for today’s cultural and socio-political context, which is can show actual of the new epoch, which have no analogues in the past. Creation of Russian national actual art, without outmodedness and provinciality, and which provokes admiration of intellectuals all over the world.
Rebirth of Russian laughing culture, traditions of absurdity and sarcasm in context of high art, that is Rebirth of lively merriment in the art-spaces. Creation of political street-art in Russia in the best traditions of skomorokh and carnival middle-age art.
Conceptual destruction of glamour timeserving and conformist Russian art-market, which is reproducing outdated forms of art, artificially falsifying processes of pricing of art-market and creating financial pyramid from devalued art-junk.
Creating of real left front of art in Russia in traditions of futurism of 1920 years, which is radically shift all ideological poles by the facts of its being. Rebirth of political protest art all over the world.
War with “werewolfes in straps” for the freedom of contemporary art. War with socio-political obscurantism and ultra-right reaction for the triumph of nano-modernization in Russia. Subversion and destruction of outdated repressive-patriarchal socio-political symbols and ideologies. Art-war against all global world for total triumph of justice in Art-Area.
This web site was created to support Voina and will be the only source of information about the group during the investigation and trial. The site is maintained by friends of the group who are also responsible for the accuracy of the information presented here.