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The Mitki and the Art of Postmodern Protest in Russia

Notorious and colorful nonconformists

During the late Soviet period, the art collective known as the Mitki emerged in Leningrad. Producing satirical poetry and prose, pop music, cinema, and conceptual performance art, this group fashioned a playful, emphatically countercultural identity with affinities to European avant-garde and American hippie movements.

More broadly, Alexandar Mihailovic shows, the Mitki pioneered a form of political protest art that has since become a centerpiece of activism in post-Soviet Russia, most visibly today in groups such as Pussy Riot. He draws on extensive interviews with members of the collective and illuminates their critique of the authoritarian state, militarism, and social strictures from the Brezhnev years to the present.


Alexandar MihailovicAlexandar Mihailovic is a professor emeritus of comparative literature and Russian at Hofstra University and visiting professor at Bennington College. His books include Corporeal Words: Mikhail Bakhtin's Theology of Discourse and an edited volume, Tchaikovsky and His Contemporaries: A Centenary Symposium.



“A masterful exploration of the work and world of the Mitki that moves seamlessly between analysis of different art forms—graphic arts, literature, and film—and chronicles the journey of its original members from debauched alcoholism to sobriety.”
—Emily Johnson, author of How St. Petersburg Learned to Study Itself


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Of Related Interest


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Defining, Policing, and Producing Deviance during the Thaw
Brian LaPierre


Ludmila Ulitskaya and the Art of Tolerance
Elizabeth A. Skomp and Benjamin M. Sutcliffe

The Mitki and the Art of Postmodern Protest in Russia

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February, 2018
LC: 2017019396 N
216 pp. 6 x 9
35 b/w illus.

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Cloth $79.95 s
ISBN 978-0-299-31490-3
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