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Leonid Nikolayev (1984–2015)

Radio Free Europe reports that the Russian artist and activist Leonid Nikolayev, who was a member of the infamous Voina collective, has died. Voina founder Oleg Vorotnikov wrote in a blog post on September 24 that Nikolayev had died after a timber cutting accident outside Moscow, adding “he was a uniquely brave man: steadfast, determined, reliable.” Known for actions such as painting a giant phallus on a drawbridge that faced the St. Petersburg headquarters of the Federal Security Service, Nikolayev lived underground for years and used various pseudonyms throughout his life due to pressure from government authorities. The artist was involved in staging many antigovernment protests, including the so-called “Blue Bucket” protests of 2010, which was against government officials who put flashing blue beacons on their cars in order to cut through traffic.

Since Voina’s start in 2007, the group has among other actions staged an orgy in Moscow's Darwin Museum, hosted a dinner in a Moscow subway train, overturned police cars, and performed a fake execution in a grocery store. The group also counts Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, of the group Pussy Riot, as a former member.

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