MOSCOW, January 15 (RIA Novosti) – The manager of a one-man show based on Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” which sparked the ire of ultraconservatives, was assaulted in St. Petersburg, his colleagues reported on Monday evening.
Unidentified men invited Artyom Suslov, 23, for an interview about the show, art club Bolt, where Suslov works, said on its page on the social network Vkontakte.
But instead he was attacked in the street near the rendezvous point by three masked men, Rosbalt.ru news website said.
The attackers beat up Suslov and forced him at gunpoint to plead guilty of pedophilia on camera, said Bolt, where Suslov often performs readings of his poetry.
Suslov sustained a possible concussion, but was not hospitalized. City police was looking into the incident.
The assailants made no direct mention of “Lolita,” which premiered at Bolt in late December, but instead cited Suslov reposting on his Vkontakte page artwork by acclaimed US photographer Sally Mann depicting naked children, Bolt said.
However, “Lolita’s” performer Leonid Mozgovoi and the administration of the Nabokov Museum in St. Petersburg earlier received threats over their alleged propaganda of child abuse.
Mozgovoi has canceled the play over the threats, though later rescheduled it. The play was performed at Bolt twice over the past month without any disruptions and is set to run again next month.
The threats were attributed to “St. Petersburg Cossacks,” an anonymous group of religious ultraconservatives. Anonymous Christian radicals also demanded to end a “blasphemous” modern art exhibit at the city’s Hermitage Museum earlier this month.
Suslov’s attackers never identified themselves as Cossacks, but one of them had a “nationalist slogan” spelled out on his clothes, the poet told Firstnews.ru website without citing the slogan.
This is not the first such tussle for Suslov: in 2009 he was beaten up by unknown men after presenting the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, with an ironic portrait of the cleric.