After the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, there was a dramatic change in legislation that significantly restricted freedom of speech in the country. Several laws were introduced that banned the use of words ‘war’, ‘invasion’ and ‘attack’ in relation to the conflict in Ukraine, and criminalised any critique of the Russian army, the state government and the president.
Many Russians, especially those based in larger cities, were used to the freedom of expression: despite occasional repressions of opposition leaders, ordinary people and even liberal media had no restrictions on expressing their views. However, within a few months, people found themselves in a country where any passer-by could submit a denunciation for the use of the word ‘war’, or even ‘peace’, leading to years of imprisonment. Having left Russia at the end of 2022, Pomidor Collective aims to exercise the power of the freedom of speech.
Pomidor Collective was formed by Polina and Maria in Moscow in 2018. The artists bonded over their cynical attitude towards politics and their analytical to the research of socio-political issues. Coining the term ‘soft politics’ to describe their work, Pomidor continues to investigate relations between an individual, a state and a wider social context.