Volodymyr Kuznetsov: The Crack of Friendship (2018)

This is the video documentation of the performative act “The Crack of Friendship”, organized by artists and activists in Kyiv, Ukraine. During this event, organizers put up a temporary sticker in the form of a black crack on the „People’s Friendship Arch“ – a monument installed to symbolize the unity of the peoples of the USSR – in the center of the city. This performance took place in November 2018. The video documentation is in Ukrainian language and provided without subtitles. (Note written by Mariia Vorotilina)

After the termination of the hunger strike by Oleg Sentsov and Vladimir Balukh, the topic of illegally imprisoned citizens of Ukraine immediately disappeared from the headlines of the world mass media, from the agenda of high level meetings. Thus, it is important to make even more efforts to prevent them from being forgotten.
The international community and Ukraine should not believe that “now everything is ok”. The demand Oleg Sentsov began the hunger strike with remains unfulfilled – all the hostages of the Kremlin are behind bars, proceedings against them continue, the pretrial investigation on fabricated cases lasts.
In connection with the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine, the annexation of the Crimea, the illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens for political reasons by Russia, we are making this statement, as well as the cultural solidary action “The Crack of Friendship” on the symbolic monument – „People’s Friendship Arch“.
This action is an act of solidarity with the illegally persecuted citizens of Ukraine, whom Russia turns into a weapon in its hybrid war, and civilians in the territories seized by the Russian Federation, a gesture-response to the war unleashed and supported by the imperialist neighbor in Eastern Ukraine.
Today, about 70 illegally detained and convicted citizens of Ukraine are held in the occupied Crimea and Russia, and more than a hundred hostages and prisoners of war are being held in basements in the Donbas.

Freedom for the Kremlin hostages! – #FreeKremlin’sHostages

The initiative „Freedom for the Kremlin hostages„, Media Initiative for Human Rights, Solidarity Committee (support group of the Crimean hostages), Straight Line, Center for Civil Liberties, activists, representatives of creative communities and all who care.

*The „People’s Friendship Arch“ is sculptural composition unveiled in 1982 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the USSR. It is meant to symbolize the unity of the peoples of the USSR. Part of the composition is devoted to the treaty „Unification of Ukraine with Russia“, adopted at the Pereyaslav Rada in 1654.

*Organizers of „The Crack of Friendship“ do not question the cultural value of the „People’s Friendship Arch“ monument and reject any potential speculation on this topic.

Volodymyr Kuznetsov (1976, Lutsk) is an artist living and working in Kyiv, Ukraine. He is the co-founder of the Straight Line group, the Artistic Council, the CCCK – Center for Communication and Context, as well as the artist group R.E.P. (Revolutsijnyj Experymentalnyj Prostir / Revolutionary Experimental Space). In his practice, Volodymyr Kuznetsov focuses on the aesthetics of everyday practices as well as on the presence of archaic in contemporary. He considers memory as a sort of experience and generates new concepts through personal and collective knowledge.