Munich balconies: balcony became anti-Putin political platform

From the second floor of the house on Prinzregentstrasse Irina Revina Hofmann protests against Vladimir Putin. The location of the house is very convenient destination is very close, just around the corner: Consulate General of Russia.

Every morning, when employees of the Russian Consulate General to go to work, they walk past this balcony. And in the evening, after work, on their way home accompanied by a poster with the slogan “Russia, Ukraine, Europe, Syria — a world without Putin.”

For five years on the balcony of the house, located directly opposite the Villa Stuck, visible political slogans. Then, during the winter of 2011-2012 in Moscow and other major Russian cities tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against the falsification of election results and reverse the “castling” of Dmitry Medvedev, who was allowed four years to serve as President and Vladimir Putin, who was going to come back to this post. “Russia without Putin!” — that was the slogan of the demonstrators. It’s written on your the first poster Irina Revina Hofmann in December 2011. She didn’t just “sit” in Munich, when her friends at home took to the streets to protect their civil rights.

However, Prinzregentstrasse were the recipients of her “message”: “It aims, first and foremost, the diplomats working at the Consulate,” says Revina, “and the Russians coming in and out of there.”

Revina periodically change the contents of the posters, “adjusting” them for the demands of the time. So after the annexation of the Crimea “Russia without Putin became Russia, Ukraine, Europe without Putin”. And when Moscow in 2015, sent his force to the aid of Bashar al-Assad, Revina was credited on the poster and Syria.

Irina Revina was born in Moscow. In 1989, she came to Germany, after Mikhail Gorbachev opened the country to the world. She studied in Cologne the history of art and mediametrie. Documentary films are shot Revina were dedicated to different relevant for Russia topics. After the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s colleagues from the “Novaya Gazeta” appealed to the Revin. They had a photo of the alleged murderer, but of low quality. Was necessary with the help of modern technology, which did not yet exist in Russia, process this image in order, if possible, to identify the murderer. Revina agreed to help colleagues, and gradually came into close contact with critics of the Russian government.

Since then she has visited many members of the opposition: Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of the band Pussy Riot, who in a few weeks after his release from prison came to Munich for the premiere of a documentary film about their group. The Revin visited a well-known satirist Viktor Shenderovich and Dmitry Gudkov, is known as the last Deputy of the State Duma, afford to oppose the Kremlin line.

She Revina several years living with her husband outside the town. Apartment in a house on Prinzregentstrasse was a guest, her balcony, the place of expression of its political position, and the front garden — a memorial place. After the murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov in early 2015 they brought flowers, candles and posters to the Consulate, but they very quickly removed the employees of the diplomatic mission. “Then we decided that we’ll have a memorial for us,” said Irina Revina. “The balcony we have already acted in that capacity.”

Blow umbrella

52-year-old Revina regularly organizes festivals of documentary films for the human rights organization Human Rights Watch. She wears bright clothes and is not afraid to draw attention to himself and his ideas. “Some people think I’m a little crazy,” she admits. Events with the participation of Bavarian politicians, she takes a bag with a picture of her balcony with the poster. How friendly behave Edmund Stoiber and Horst Seehofer in relation to the Russian President, she finds shameful.

Most passers-by, in her words, respond to the poster on her balcony positively. One day an elderly woman hit umbrella on the poster “Propaganda kills” standing next to a portrait of Nemtsov. “She probably went to the Consulate to get a pension,” suggested Revina. And recently, when she pulled the flowers and candles, she was approached by a young man and wanted to give her 10 euros. First Revina thought it was “set up” which often arrange for opposition in Russia: somebody lends them money on the streets or asking to exchange a large bill. Their secretly filmed and then shown on TV with a comment that already funded anti-government protests. But the young man earnestly said: “I just want to participate in it.”

Russian diplomats react to all this very cautiously. They know who Revina: every time in Russia the elections are held, it is registered at the Consulate as observer of the vote. Once the staff of the Consulate, according to her, showed her a photo of her balcony and said, “is This your balcony?” “Yes, of course!” “We are surprised that you all still come to us.”