Agriculture Club, an independent art space located in Karelia, will be closing its doors in June. The project team officially announced this news on May 17 through various social media platforms. The lease agreement for the club was not extended, leading to this decision. Natalia Sevets-Yermolina, the head of Agriculture Club, was recently declared a foreign agent by the Ministry of Justice.
In November 2022, Natalia Sevets-Yermolina, the former head of the art space, made a decision to leave Russia due to her deep disappointment in those who supported the war in Ukraine. Her departure was followed by the Ministry of Justice declaring her a foreign agent in April. Then, on May 17, 2023, after eight years of existence, Agriculture Club announced its closure as the lease was not renewed.
Natalia Sevets-Yermolina clarified that the project had never received state or foreign funding, relying solely on Russian grants, donations, and ticket sales for events. Financial difficulties plagued the club throughout its existence, resulting in staff members going unpaid for most of the time.
Reflecting on her experience, Natalia Sevets-Yermolina shared her sentiments on Facebook*: "For eight years, I dedicated myself to cultivating personal freedom, fostering unity within the city's communities, and advocating for human rights and dignity. I learned the importance of respectful, horizontal communication."
Since 2015, Agriculture Club has been a hub for various activities such as lectures, trainings, barcamps, theater performances, and closed meetings for the queer community. In 2021, police officers interrupted a lecture on sex education, issuing a warning for purportedly violating coronavirus restrictions.