Police Detain Graffiti Artist in Saratov

Graffiti artist Vikentiy Belikov was detained by the police for drawing a likeness of the governor of Saratov around a pothhole.

Saratov’s police detained 20-year-old street artist Vikentiy Belikov on suspicion of drawing a cartoon of Valeriy Radaev, the governor of Saratov oblast, around a pothole. “Police are conducting an investigation of this incident. A person, who is suspected of connection to it, has provided an explanation about this matter. Currently, police are working with him,” SarInform quoted a speech of Anna Egorova, press-secretary of Saratov’s Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Belikov told journalists that the police questioned him who ordered him to draw the graffiti. “I thought that they would abuse me, instead, we almost became friends. Their goal was to find out a name of the person who commissioned the cartoon. They kept me for the whole day yesterday in a police department and then released me,” said Belikov.

“There was no any charge pressed against the man. He wrote an explanation note and he was released after that,” added Anna Egorova.

Belikov said that the graffiti was ordered for about 9-10 thousand rubles (about $200). “I will not comment on the person who commissioned the work, at least until he is interested. It was just an ordinary order. People contact me to do drawings and decorative paintings. I do not really support social actions, however work was commissioned and I had to do it.”

The graffiti was an attempt to attract attention to the problem of poor roads. When the news reached the internet, communal services first painted over the cartoon, then fixed the pothole.

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Belikov is not the first who drew an official’s face on the road – residents of Ekaterinburg launched the project “Force the Officials to Work” in 2012. The project got into the finals of the international advertising festival in Cannes and received 4 Lions for media coverage, outside advertisement, PR and innovative advertisement.

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