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France Arrests Radical Russian Artist Pavlensky for Bank Arson

Pyotr Pavlensky / Twitter @capucinema

Russia’s radical political performance artist, Pyotr Pavlensky, has been arrested in Paris after setting the Bank of France on fire, the Dozhd TV network reported on Monday.

France granted Pavlensky and his partner asylum in May, months after Russia fined him for a 2015 arson attack of the Federal Security Service building.

Pavlensky gained notoriety for anti-Kremlin stunts including nailing his scrotum to the Red Square cobblestones, slicing off part of his ear and sewing his mouth shut.

The French-language edition of Kremlin-backed RT television channel reported that police detained Pavlensky in the early hours of Monday after he set fire to the doors of the Bank of France.

Dozhd TV cited a caption in one of the photographs taken at the scene claiming that a female accomplice assisted Pavlensky in the act. 

The caption quoted from his statement denouncing “bankers (who) assumed the place of the monarchs” and called for a “great French Revolution.”

Pavlensky and his partner Oksana Shalygina said in January they fled Russia with their two daughters to escape a false sexual assault case against them.

Pavlensky and Shalygina, who both advocate for open relationships, dismissed the allegations, claiming that their relationship with an alleged victim was consensual. They maintain that she filed her complaint under the orders of the Russian security services. If found guilty, the couple could be jailed for up to 10 years.

Pavlensky: Russia's Performance Artist Provocateur

The pro-Kremlin news website quoted Pavlensky’s Russian attorney as saying that he could be deported from France if a criminal case is opened against him.

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