Russian Street Artist Faces Prison Term for Anti-War Graffiti

Russian street artist Filipp Kozlov, who goes by the name Philippenzo, could face up to three years in prison for anti-war graffiti, just days after his release from prison over past minor offenses, the independent outlet Polygon Media reported Friday.

Video published by Polygon Media showed Kozlov escorted by law enforcement officers wearing civilian clothing.

The outlet said authorities searched Kozlov’s apartment and studio, and confiscated some of his artwork. It was not immediately clear whether the searches were carried out in Kozlov’s hometown of Volgograd or Moscow, where he currently lives.

Polygon Media said Kozlov was “preliminarily” charged with “politically motivated vandalism,” an offense punishable by up to three years in prison, but the outlet did not cite the source of this information. 

The alleged charges are said to be connected to Kozlov’s graffiti work “Izrossilovaniye” — a portmanteau of the Russian words for “rape” and “Russia” — unveiled in Moscow on June 12, a public holiday known as Russia Day.

The work references Russia’s domestic political crackdown and the invasion of Ukraine. City workers painted over the graffiti shortly after it appeared.

Earlier in July and August, Kozlov served two consecutive 15-day terms in prison on misdemeanor charges of disobeying police orders. He was released from a Moscow region detention center on Saturday.

He was previously fined twice in 2022 for anti-war graffiti and once for “discrediting” the Russian military, according to the independent news outlet Activatica.

Following the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russian authorities criminalized the spread of information about the country’s military that deviates from the Kremlin’s narrative on what it calls its “special military operation.”

The new law introduced jail terms of up to 15 years for the publication of “knowingly false information” about Russia’s army.

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