Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Artist Cuts Off Part of Ear in Act of Protest

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky cuts off a part of his earlobe during his protest action titled "Segregation" in Moscow Oct. 19.

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky, known for his shocking protest stunts, cut off part of his earlobe in a protest titled "Segregation" at a Moscow psychiatric institution Sunday.

Pavlensky, who last year made headlines around the world for another protest in which he nailed his scrotum to the cobblestones of Red Square, was this time protesting against the use of forensic psychiatry for politically motivated purposes.

He cut off his earlobe while sitting naked on the wall of the Serbsky State Scientific Center for Social and Forensic Psychiatry, an institution that was infamous in Soviet times for declaring political dissidents mentally unstable. He was taken away by police following the stunt.

Pavlensky said he was demonstrating how authorities could "cut off" an unwanted individual from society by using psychiatric and medical diagnosis to forcefully send a person to a penitentiary hospital.

Material from The Moscow Times is included in this report.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.