Skip to Content

Petr Pavlensky, Facebook

‘Persecuted’ Russian artist finds no refuge in France

Russia's Vesti news network reported on how an ultra-liberal Russian artist wound up sharing bunks with Muslim terrorists outside Paris after he had been granted political asylum in France.

Published: July 17, 2018, 9:38 am

    Read more


    Russian performance artist Petr Pavlensky made headlines with such daring stunts as sewing his lips shut in protest over the arrest of anti-Russian punk band Pussy Riot, cutting off his earlobe with a chef’s knife while sitting naked on the roof of a psychiatric hospital in Moscow to protest against Russian authorities, and nailing his scrotum to Red Square’s cobblestone paving.

    “A naked artist, looking at his testicles nailed to the cobblestone is a metaphor of apathy, political indifference, and fatalism of Russian society,” he said in a press statement.

    Celebrated among liberal intelligentsia at home and abroad, Pavlensky’s last major stunt in Russia – in 2015 – was to set an entrance to the FSB headquarters on fire, an offense for which he was fined.

    He fled to France with his partner and their two children after being accused of sexual assault by a Moscow actress. There he received political asylum, and was feted in Paris as a champion of freedom persecuted by Vladimir Putin.

    The couple from St Petersburg and their two children were granted political asylum in France in May 2017 after fleeing Russia in January of the same year. Both claimed they had been persecuted by Russian authorities. After numerous detentions by Russian law enforcement agencies, Pavlensky was charged by the Russian government with the sexual assault of the actress Anastasia Slonina.

    But a repeat performance of his FSB stunt at an entrance to the Banque de France in Paris landed Pavlensky in one of the worst prisons in Europe.

    He is being kept in France’s Fleury-Mérogis prison complex where jihadists are imprisoned and is being denied visitation rights to friends of the family.

    In an extreme twist of irony, Oksana Shaligyna, the artist’s partner, is alleging that the French government is worse than Putin’s Russia. France has unduly censored Pavlensky’s contact with the outside world to a degree unseen in their native Russia, she says.

    “At the moment there is a blockade of the artist from information,” Shaligyna told art magazine Hyperallergic.

    On October 17 of last year, both Pavlensky and Shaligyna were charged by a Paris judge with damaging property at the risk of endangering others. They were arrested after Pavlensky’s action two nights earlier, “Lighting” during which he set fire to France’s central bank, the Banque de France.

    Pavlensky defended his arson as “artistic expression”. The Banque de France was erected on the grounds formerly occupied by the Bastille, where the French Revolution started. “The Bastille was destroyed by a people in revolution; the people destroyed its symbol of despotism and power,” Pavlensky explained at the time.

    His statement was released via the FEMEN leader Inna Shevchenko.

    Hyperallergic contacted France’s Ministry of Culture for commentary on Pavlensky’s case and its implications for issues of freedom of expression in the country, but has received no response.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    Hungary refuses to back down faced with revenge from EU elites

    BrusselsThe European Union has triggered infringement proceedings - the so-called Article 7 sanction mechanism - against Hungary for alleged breaches of "democratic values".

    Salvini: ‘Goodbye Merkel’

    RomeDeputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is looking forward to next year's European elections. He expects the political landscape within the European Union to change dramatically.

    Media blackout on biggest race riot in British school history

    SheffieldIn what has been called the biggest race riot in British school history, 150 students engaged in an armed fight last month. Mainstream media have remained silent about the obvious failure of "diversity".

    Merkel’s latest scheme blurs legal distinction between asylum and labour

    BerlinChancellor Merkel's grand coalition has announced an "agreement" or a compromise on "skilled labor immigration" which is essentially a new immigration scheme and various other backdoors for the obtainment under false pretenses of permanent residence in Germany and access to its social systems, without abolishing the old abuse.

    Orban: ‘Brussels going full steam ahead with migration schemes’

    BudapestHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned in his regular Friday interview to public radio that Brussels was “going full steam ahead” with its open-border migration schemes.

    UN will soon try to enforce open borders as a ‘human right’

    BerlinUN member states are expected to sign the so-called “Global Compact for Migration” in December in Morocco, claiming that migration is a “human right”.

    British agents were given a ‘license to kill’ by former PM

    LondonBritish secret service agents working for MI5 have a "licence to kill" without fear of prosecution, a tribunal has heard.

    ‘Jews for AfD’ meet with hostile response from most Jews

    WiesbadenLast week saw the formation of a “Jews for AfD” group in an effort to assuage fears that Jews were working together with Islamists to undermine pro-European movements.

    Marine Le Pen distances herself from Bannon during Rome visit

    RomeThe leader of the French National Rally, Marine Le Pen, on Monday distanced herself from the campaign support offered by US President Donald Trump's former advisor.

    Italian mayor arrested for criminally issuing ID cards to illegals

    RiaceThe mayor of Riace, a town of some 2 300 people in Calabria, a province in southern Italy, was recently arrested for aiding illegal immigration into his city.

    Go to archive