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Red Square naked nail protester faces criminal charges

Red Square naked nail protester faces criminal charges

A naked performance artist who nailed his scrotum to Red Square as a
political protest may face up to five years in prison, Russian media
A criminal investigation has begun into Pyotr Pavlensky’s actions at
the Kremlin wall on Sunday, the interior ministry told news agencies
in Moscow.
Pavlensky was arrested but released the following day and placed under
travel restrictions.
However, the 29-year-old now faces the charge of hooliganism.
The hooliganism charge is used to prosecute perceived breaches of
public order. It is the same charge used to jail members of the punk
band Pussy Riot, and to prosecute activists from the Greenpeace ship
Arctic Sunrise.
The St Petersburg performance artist had reportedly sat for an hour
and a half on the square on Sunday afternoon, with a nail driven
through his genitals into the ground. His “fixation” act, he said, was
a metaphor for apathy in Russia.
Critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin accuse the veteran leader
of presiding over a crackdown on dissent since his re-election in
March last year.
A police source told Interfax news agency that the article under which
Pavlensky was being charged carried a wide range of penalties.
starting with a fine and going up to a five-year prison sentence.
His graphic act outside the Lenin Mausoleum was recorded on video
which was put online.
Timing his act to coincide with Police Day, Pavlensky said in a
statement published on Sunday: “When the authorities turn the country
into one big prison, openly robbing the populace and channelling funds
to increase and enrich the police and other security agencies, society
accepts arbitrariness and, having forgotten its advantage in numbers,
brings the triumph of the police state closer through its inaction.”
Pavlensky previously attracted attention by sewing his lips together
in July of last year and demonstrating outside St Petersburg’s Kazan
Cathedral in support of the imprisoned Pussy Riot protesters. In May
of this year, he wrapped his naked body in a “cocoon” of barbed wire
outside the city’s parliament.
Fellow figures from the Russian arts world praised his Red Square act
in comments on, with one calling it a “powerful gesture of
absolute despair” and another, “a manifesto of powerlessness”. – BBC