Orthodoxy pioneered the use of icons for narrating religion to illiterate masses.
To many Russian faithful still, these pictures don’t just show the sacred, they it: a second, visual Gospel, sharing the authority and infallibility of the first.
All those modern propaganda posters and imposing Red Square pageants draw on the same tradition: that seeing induces believing. And a picture must never be left to speak for itself.
Russia now is a story told in pictures, still and moving.
Everybody knows about Putin’s anti-gay law, because it’s been at the top of the news, gay and straight, for two weeks running; and if you’ve been following this even slightly, you’ve seen images like these — of homophobes brutally abusing Russian queers. Clips and snapshots keep cropping up on Western blogs.