Our guest on the podcast this week is the Russian cartoonist Vyacheslav Shilov. He was born in 1970 in Potsdam, Germany. Until recently Vyacheslav Shilov, a member of the Union of Artists and Graphic Artists of the International Federation of UNESCO, lived in St. Petersburg. Today Vyacheslav with his family is outside Russia – in Europe. Vyacheslav Shilov in addition to his talent is known for his civic position. He has worked with the St. Petersburg Ombudsman Aleksander Shishlov (everyone remembers his wonderful human rights calendar). Vyacheslav also drew for Amnesty International: the cover of Amnesty’s report on “Agents of the People” was created by Vyacheslav Shilov.
The topics we discuss on the podcast include: his education and early career as an artist; working in St. Petersburg; involvement with human rights; the current situation in Russia; reasons to emigrate; the future for Russia; personal plans for the future.
The questions we ask Vyacheslav Shilov include:
- You have lived in Potsdam, Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg and now Europe. What has inspired you to move from place to place?
- You graduated in journalism from St. Petersburg State University and yet we know you as an artist. Did they teach you to draw at the University?
- How did you became involved with human rights activists?
- You have drawn for many newspapers (Nevskoe Vremya, Vecherniy Peterburg, Smena). Have you experienced censorship in your work?
- Are there differences of opinion among St. Petersburg artists (and not just cartoonists)? Is there a division between “patriots” and “regime critics”?
- You have recently left Russia with your family after receiving threats. When did these attacks increase in intensity?
- How do you assess the situation in Russia? Are all people engaged in the arts leaving or planning to leave? A lot of people compare the current situation with the emigration to Constantinople in the 1920s or to the ‘Philosophers’ Steamship’ when intellectuals left Russia after the revolution. Do you agree with these analogies?
- How do you see the future of human rights activism in Russia? What awaits the country and the world?
- What plans do you have while you are in Europe?
You can listen to the podcast in full here:
For your convenience we have also divided the podcast into three parts that you can listen to separately.
Part One: Early life; education; work; newspapers and magazines; St. Petersburg:
Part Two: Public opinion in St. Petersubrg about the war; division between ‘patriots’ and critics of the regime; impact of the invasion; role of television:
Part Three: Leaving Russia; the future:
Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “There were several reasons for our departure,” Vyacheslav Shilov said. “The final straw, after which I no longer wished to remain in Russia, was the fact that in the school where we had enrolled our son (it’s a good school, of high quality, with good facilities) they began to give political education to the children, talking about the glorious victories of Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.”
Slava Shilov, our guest on our latest podcast, is a St. Petersburg artist, a great caricaturist and a brilliant graphic artist, told us that when he and his family flew from St. Petersburg to Istanbul, several associations with the past of our motherland surfaced in his mind. These were the ‘Philosophers’ Steamship’ and the exodus to Constantinople. The passengers on the only voyage that day, the voyage to that very Constantinople, were quiet, intelligent people.
Involuntarily comes to mind the history of a hundred years ago, when more than 150 000 people left Russia on 126 ships. And the ‘Philosophers’ Steamship’ on which in 1922 almost three hundred people left Russia, deported by the Kremlin authorities. ‘The future has been stolen,’ says Vyacheslav Shilov, one of the thousands of Russians who left a country that has become an aggressor, a country that has become a disgrace.
For how long?
You can help Vyacheslav Shilov by buying his work at https://cartoonagency2.blogspot.com/2020/06/artoon.html
(c) Viacheslav Shilov – illustration for Amnesty International report “Russia: Agents of the people: Four years of “foreign agents” law in Russia: Consequences for the society