Russian artist detained for setting fire to security service HQ: police

9th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russian authorities on Monday detained a performance artist best known for nailing his scrotum to Red Square after he torched the doors of the headquarters of the FSB, the successor to the KGB, Interfax news agency reported.

Pyotr Pavlensky set fire to the wooden doors of the sprawling FSB building in downtown Moscow, Interfax reported, citing a police source.

He posted a video of the performance showing flames leaping to the top of the doorway as he stands in front of it, before a policeman comes running up.

"The FSB acts using a method of unending terror and holds onto power over 146 million people," Pavlensky said in a message released along with the video.

The video can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/145096472.

The FSB headquarters, which take up an entire block, were used by Soviet-era secret police for interrogations and killings.

Pavlensky was taken to a police station and was being questioned on suspicion of petty hooliganism, reported Mediazona.ru, a website that monitors the detention of activists.

Two journalists who watched the performance were taken in for questioning before being released, reported the Dozhd independent channel, whose journalist was at the scene.

Pavlensky in 2013 nailed his scrotum to the cobblestone of Red Square to protest against tight police control.

He has been charged with vandalism and faces up to three years in jail for a performance in Saint Petersburg last year during which he and other activists set fire to tyres and waved a Ukrainian flag to simulate the Maidan protests that led to the ouster of a pro-Moscow leader in Ukraine.

In previous shocking performances to protest against a lack of civil freedoms, Pavlensky has sewn up his lips and cut off part of his earlobe.


© 2015 AFP

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