Inside the Russian Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Inside the Russian Pavilion at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Credit: Andrea Merola


Grigory Revzin, the architecture critic tapped to curate Russia's pavilion for the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, was fired for writing a column critical of Russia's actions in Ukraine, according to a report in The Moscow Times.

Revzin was fired by Vladimir Medinsky, the Russian Minister of Culture, and replaced by Semyon Mikhailovsky, rector of the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. 

The column appeared on Lenta.ru, one of Russia's most popular news sites, and criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision-making. Revzin questioned Putin's policy on Ukraine, according to the report, writing that "sending the military into Ukraine is a risk, a card game: the adventurous [former Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili might play this way, but Putin—what happened to him?"

Revzin was appointed the commissioner for the Russian pavilion in 2010. In 2012, Revzin filled the Russian Pavilion with imagery from secret Soviet research cities as well as a presentation on Skolkovo, a future arts-and-sciences suburb being planned outside Moscow. (Think a Russian Silicon Valley, says ARCHITECT blogger Aaron Betsky, who is a member of the Supervisory Council for the project.) Revzin designed the Skolkovo exhibit—which took the form of a dome whose interior was covered over with QR Codes that could be deciphered via tablet computer and won the Venice jury prize, a first for Russia at the festival.

The Venice Architecture Biennale opens on June 7, leaving Russia with just two months to change course on its pavilion.