In late February a group of young people visited the Timiryazev State Museum of Biology in Moscow. Instead of scrutinizing mammoth tusks and other exhibits they entered a museum room, grouped in pairs and started to have sex.
Some of them did not actually take part in the coition. Others caught everything on cameras. Pictures from the Museum of Biology spread overnight on the Russian Internet, while the event itself became a hot topic for discussion on Russian blogs.
The blatant performance was made by art-group Voina (War) that is notorious for some mind-blowing jinks, such as funeral feast in the Moscow metro where they laid tables and started drinking and eating in a train carriage, in front of other passengers. The members of the group had public sex in the museum not because they had no other place to go. It was their way of artistic expression.
Some participants of the public event - students of the Department of Philosophy of the Moscow State University - had problems with their studies afterwards.
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The students broke a rule of universal human morality with their performance. What else did they breach? Unbelievable though it may seem, but nothing else. Russian laws have no clause to forbid sex in public. The Administrative Code associates petty crime with disorderly conduct expressing outspoken disrespect to the society, accompanied by obscene words in public, offensive molestation to citizens, as well as property destruction and damage.
Thus, if disorderly conduct expressing outspoken disrespect to the society is not accompanied by obscene words in public, offensive molestation to citizens, as well as property destruction and damage, it is no longer a malefaction.
As many Russians say: “Right is he who has more rights. If there is an individual, there is an article in the Penal Code.”
As for the above-mentioned Article 20.1 of the Administrative Code. In the law enforcement practice “disorderly conduct expressing outspoken disrespect to the society” is sometimes enough to call it a petty crime and to impose administrative charges in the amount from five up to ten minimum wages or an administrative arrest for a term of up to 15 days.
To put it in a nutshell, there is no law in Russia that directly forbids sex in public places or public nudity.
Laws in other countries interpret issues of public morality, obnoxious conduct and sexual actions more eagerly and verbosely than the Russian law do. But all countries differ in explaining the reasons why sex in public should be forbidden.
For example, several years ago Britain passed the law on sexual behavior that banned sex in pubic places, including private yards if passers-by can see that. But Britons may have sex in toilet booths only with the closed door.
In Holland sex in public parks has been recently permitted. One should do it in the evening time and keep away from children. One should not make a mess or molest people around. But Holland is Holland. People may do a lot there.
Translated by Julia Bulygina