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19 September 2018

  The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.


Author: The Editors

Nov/Dec 2016
Page 16   ( 2 pages)

Summary: Russian businessmen, artists, activists and dreamers are embracing crowdfunding as a way to drum up financial support for projects that cannot attract state funding or loans.


Russian businessmen, artists, activists and dreamers are embracing crowdfunding as a way to drum up financial support for projects that cannot attract state funding or loans. The Russian crowdfunding site Planeta has already funneled over R500 million into various projects. Here are some of the projects in Russia and the near abroad that are seeking to pool funds from interested individuals.

Animator Garri Bardin is seeking to raise R7 million ($111,000) for his third crowdfunded film, Bolero 2017. Bardin, who is now 75, is best known for making stop-action animated films about society with very mundane materials, like matches or wire. His film ????????? (“Fioritures”), which received a 1988 Short Film Palme d’Or in Cannes, is about a wire man who is driven insane by the desire to protect himself, turning his entire wire family into a fence.

Bardin previously crowdfunded Three Melodies, in 2013, and Listening to Beethoven, which toured the festivals this year.

“I am counting on you because I cannot count on the Ministry of Culture,” wrote Bardin, who does not hide his dissident views. “The topic I plan to address is far from the goals of this ministry.” Rewards for particularly generous sponsors include puppets from Bardin’s old films.

At press time, the project had attained half its goal en route to an end of November deadline.

A group of enthusiasts is hoping to raise money to build a hiking trail across the Caucasus, from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.

Focusing mostly on Georgia’s Svaneti region for now, the project, a nonprofit based in Washington DC, aims to develop a world-class long-distance trail linking two dozen national parks and providing hikers with an uninterrupted 1,600 kilometer nature path through the mountains.

This summer, volunteers scouted Armenia’s Vorotan Pass and along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. Challenges include several disputed territories along the trail’s path, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are under de facto Russian control despite being recognized as part of Georgia by most countries. Still, the group plans to work out routes and build trails in Abkhazia in 2017. They are inviting trail crew members as well as potential funders.

Sociologist Igor Chirikov, who works for the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, had an idea. Eyeing a strange, ugly concrete cube near his university – a Soviet ruin of unknown purpose – he decided it could be used to honor hundreds of anonymous peer reviewers, “the greatest heroes... In the endless war against ignorance.”

Launching his project on Kickstarter in September, Chirikov’s humorous project was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and even Nature – the dream of every scientist, as he observed on his Facebook page.

“For too long, however, one such figure has been overlooked by most studies – the peer reviewer – someone who anonymously time and time again sends back research documents and findings with requests for revisions.”

At the time of publication, the project had reached its goal of $2500. Chirikov and his team will pay a sculptor and designer to make the cube into a die, with engravings “Accept”, “Minor Changes”, “Reject,” as well as other directives that an anonymous reviewer might affix to an article.

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