Russian art activist Pyotr Pavlensky asks to face terrorism charges

Russian art activist Pyotr Pavlensky asks to face terrorism charges
Pyotr Pavlensky (Image: Dmitry Tsyrenshikov (2014))

11 November 2015

Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, who set fire to the entrance of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) in Moscow on Monday, has asked for the charges against him to be changed from vandalism to terrorism.

Pavlensky currently faces vandalism charges and up to three years in prison, but asked investigators at a Moscow court yesterday to change the charges to terrorism, an offence that carries a much weightier sentence.

“Based on the logic of the law enforcement authorities, I demand that I be tried for terrorism,” Pavlensky stated, comparing his case to the case of Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who was jailed for terrorism in August, having been found guilty of involvement in two attempted arson attacks in Crimea, setting up a terrorist group and plotting attacks on infrastructure and pro-Russian groups.

The Moscow court ordered Pavlensky to remain in detention until 8 December, refusing requests from the artist’s lawyer, Olga Chavdar, to put him under house arrest on bail.

Pavlensky set fire to the entrance of the FSB on Monday in an artistic action titled “Menace”. Known for his violent artistic actions, in 2012 Pavlensky sewed his mouth shut in protest against the detention of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, while in November 2013 he nailed his scrotum to the ground on Red Square.

Source: Moscow Times and Guardian