If you equate a media political activist whose texts are just as curt as they are sometimes ironical with a rude, offensive guy then one is sure - you have never met Oleg Kireev.
If you equate a media political activist whose texts are just as curt as they are sometimes cynical with a rude, offensive guy then one is sure - you have never met Oleg Kireev.
In the article "Art and politics in Moscow: a politically ambiguous city" Kireev writes: "The generation I belong to has been growing up in extremely politicized times: it was 1991 in Russia when I was sixteen, and 1993 when I was eighteen. Therefore we had to become politically engaged. The point is that our political illusions and optimism were ruined by the events to come afterwards, and in 1993 we were already seeing the beginning of them. To borrow some good old Freudian truths, we have got an adolescent psychological trauma. But no generation could avoid such traumas, the point is - how it will deal with them. Our aim now is to overcome this trauma by making these illusions and optimisms work, to bring them back into reality again. In some sense it means to re-construct history in an improved way."
From the variety of large-scale actions taken by Kireev and meant to "re-construct" and "improve" let´s take two, that tell much about the way he thinks and perceives his work.
1. RADEK seems to be the most interesting and significant initiative. Initially RADEK was only a magazine devoted to contemporary culture, politics and theory created by young artists, critics and writers. Its aim was to explore the most radical events of culture, philosophy and the left-wing politics that occurred in the 20th century. Additionally to the magazine, there is also the RADEK´s library published. Throughout the years the editors cooperated with authors from Germany, France, USA, Bulgaria and many others.
Since 1998 RADEK´s editorial team has been also running a Non-Governmental Control Commission. Its goal is to expand the socio-political actions of the collective. In its plans the group had a broad social-political programme, that assumes "the critics of political parties and their rhetoric of mass representation." In one of his speeches about the Control Commission Kireev said that "it must conclude the theoretical researches and discussions and the political actions as well."
2. Another initiative that describes Kireev´s interests was a project dedicated to cultural and political analysis titled "ghetto". The name describes Kireev´s idea on what the Internet is right now in Russia - the last platform that gives a chance for creative people to publish their works/articles. Focused on influencing public opinion, the project had also a political background and was used as a counter-action to the Chechen war.
Let me finish with a piece of Kireev´s article that proves its´ authors observatory skills as well as presents his brilliant, cynical intellect: "(...) one of key features of Russia is its habit to, almost ritually, break with all the previous experiences as soon as a new one is gained. (...) Repressed ghosts of the past are desiring for the return! A dialectical solution would be - in spite of all today´s zealots objections - to say, that some portion of a traditional patriotism would be not that bad, if it serves as a transitory step to an internationalism of bolsheviks."
Author: Aleksandra Halicka
Oleg Kireev (born 1975) is an art-critic, editor, curator and activist whose work is centered around media-political campaigns (such as "Against all parties", 1999) and actions ("Barricade at Bolshaya Nikitskaya", May 1998). From his initiative Ghetto, a Moscow based collective dedicated to cultural and political analyses started its work. He is also known as an author of articles on art and politics published both, in Russian and international press ("Novaya gazeta", "Nezavasimaya gazeta", "Flash art", "Siksi", "Mute"). Kireev was one of co-funders of "RADEK", a magazine devoted to contemporary culture, politics and theory.
Three of his books: "Against all P´s" (M., ghetto, 2001), "Lifestyle" (M., ghetto, 2004) and "The cookbook of the media activist" (Ultra Kultura, Ekatarinburg 2006) were published.
Kireev has also translated into Russian Konrad Becker´s "Tactical Reality Dictionary".
He lives in Moscow.