GPS | RUSSIA | In protest of the Kremlin, Russian performance artist nails his scrotum on Red Square cobblestones (NSFW)

Pyotr Pavlensky’s bodily public actions “involve the actual power mechanisms.” His performances of sewing his mouth closed in protest against the arrest of Pussy Riot, or lying naked in barbed wire to protest harsh laws, have had wide international resonance. Read More

GPS | OUTER SPACE | Watch live: Russian cosmonauts take the Olympic torch on a spacewalk

Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky took the unlit version of the silver-and-red torch through the hatch of the International Space Station. While gripping the torch in the gloved fist of his spacesuit, Kotov crawled out of the hatch and waved it triumphantly 261 miles (420 km) above the planet Earth. Read More

PRO VS. CON #DUMPSTOLI | How does the boycott of a Latvian vodka change Putin’s anti-gay laws and save lives of Russian LGBT youth?

The #dumpstoli campaign has been a global public-relations success. But have the protests for public awareness of repressive anti-gay laws in Russia been misdirected and unfairly targeted a long-time ally of the LGBT community? Will the Dump Vodka protests actually change the minds of the Russian parliament? Here is my on-the-ground investigation of yesterday’s protest in front of the Russian Consulate in New York. Read More

NAKED DIPLOMACY | 450 naked runners race as part of Free Pussy Riot campaign

The prompt to begin the naked run in the Netherlands was given 14:30 via Skype from Russia by a Pussy Riot member. Runners wearing nothing but helmets and sneakers in the Netherlands show support for Russian punk band Pussy Riot. Read More

DEADLINES | Cambridge university calls for papers on “Cultural Exchange: Russia and the West” by Aug. 30, 2013

Proposals for papers are being requested for a symposium. The focus will be on the visual arts in Russia during the 19th and 20th centuries, both periods of revolutionary and ideological change. Read More

FILM-FLAM DIPLOMACY | Will you accept a post of culture minister in Siberia if you were Gérard Depardieu?

The Siberian region is notorious for its Stalin-era gulag prison camps. It is also the same area where one of the members of the punk band Pussy Riot is presently serving a two-year sentence for reciting an anti-Putin prayer in a Russian orthodox church in February 2012. Read More

IRAN REPORT | Tehran gears up for annual Fajr International Theater Festival

In a press conference at the headquarters of the 31st Fajr International Theatre Festival, the judge of the playwriting competition Borhani-marand stated that he hopes that Iranian plays, which are mostly unknown, will be given an opportunity for publication: “The works of the play-writing competition were about today’s social issues in the most modern form. I hope that all of them will be published. The release of such kind of works can enrich our stage. I hope that the officials will play more attention to today’s playwrights.” Read More