Art Gallery & Performance Space
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The Institute of Modern Russia and 287 Spring are honored to present the first solo New York exhibition of Misha Friedman’s photographic project "PHOTO51 – Is Corruption in Russia’s DNA?," which explores the painful reality of the modern Russian state, where corruption, in its various manifestations, has pervaded the daily lives of common citizens and the ruling elites alike.



In his op-ed written for The New York Times in August 2012, Friedman explains: “Corruption in Russia is so pervasive that the whole society accepts the unacceptable as normal, as the only way of survival, as the way things “just are.” It is not simply about officials abusing power; it’s also about ordinary people comfortably adapting these principles to their daily lives.

Most Russians have grown so accustomed to a certain lawless way of life that they have come to view corruption as “Russia’s own special way.” They are unsure how their country’s economy, government or social sphere might function without it. This photo essay is an attempt to show that corruption is both a state of mind and a way of life.”

Today, when the political tensions are once again rising between the United States and the Russian Federation, Friedman’s arresting photography takes us on a journey from extortionate luxury to utter misery that exist side by side in Russian urban centers, industrial wastelands, and rural regions. With Vladimir Putin securing yet another term for himself as President amidst unprecedented public protests in Russia, Friedman’s photographic project is an exposé of the ominous state of affairs in the world’s largest country, which questions the very possibility of credible change and eradication of the hypothetical “corruption gene” under the current regime.

In conjunction with this exhibition, 287 Spring will offer a number of screenings and talks on the issue of corruption in Russia. The detailed schedule will be announced early in February 2013 on

The exhibition is accompanied by a limited edition of portfolios which will be available for purchase at the gallery.


"PHOTO51 – Is Corruption in Russia’s DNA?"
February 15 - March 2, 2013
Opening Reception: February 15, 2013, 6-9 PM

Curated by Ivan Savvine, 287 Spring


This exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the Institute of Modern Russia and its President, Mr. Pavel Khodorkovsky. All proceeds from the exhibition to benefit the Institute of Modern Russia and its programs.


The Institute of Modern Russia is a nonprofit group based in the United State that aims to support democratic values and institutions in the Russian Federation by engaging with civil society, bolstering the rule of law, and strengthening political freedoms.

287 Spring is a gallery and performance space in the heart of the Hudson Square district. Our mission is to support emerging artistic talent and offer our audiences meticulously-tailored menus of engaging cultural events. Please visit us at

On October 19, negotiations on the Ukraine crisis are resuming in Berlin in the so-called "Normandy Format." Presidents of Russia, Ukraine and France—Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko and François Hollande,—as well as German chancellor Angela Merkel will participate in this high-profile meeting that takes place for the first time since the beginning of the year. The goal of the Western leaders is to compel Russia to carry out its obligations under the Minsk Accords, including handing over control of the border between Ukraine and Russia to the Kiev authorities, withdrawing Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory, holding elections in Donetsk and Lugansk regions under the auspices of the OSCE, et al. As the Russian president spokesperson Dmitry Peskov noted the other day, given the current circumstances in the region, negotiations “will not be easy.”

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