Cancellation of the International OpenArt Festival Due to Public Outcry and Pressure from Law Enforcement
Scheduled for October 20-22, the International OpenArt Festival in Moscow has been canceled. On October 18, festival organizers were confronted with an official statement sent to various government bodies, including the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office, the Mayor’s Office, Rospotrebnadzor, the Investigative Committee, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Communications, as well as the festival’s venue owners.
The information contained in these statements did not reflect the reality of the festival and was primarily based on unfounded speculation and unreliable claims. Subsequently, it was discovered that several similar statements had been dispatched to different districts of Moscow by government officials. Additionally, fake festival accounts on social media began disseminating provocative information regarding LGBT+ advocacy, which led to an official warning from the Prosecutor’s Office and increased pressure on the festival’s organizers.
In light of this situation, the festival’s website was blocked, and the Prosecutor’s Office issued a formal warning to the organizers, citing potential administrative and criminal consequences in accordance with the laws on combating extremist activities and Article 148 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which pertains to the violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion (the warning was signed by District Prosecutor B. O. Grigoriev). This warning was also sent to the venue, where the festival was supposed to take place.
Under these circumstances the organizers have been forced to cancel the festiva