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Ex-Partner Accuses Radical Russian Artist Pavlensky of Rape and Abuse

Pyotr Pavlensky and Oksana Shalygina. Sergei Savostyanov / TASS

The former partner of Russian radical performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky has accused him of rape and domestic abuse in a tell-all book, the news website Wonderzine reported.

Oksana Shalygina told the outlet she had helped organize several of Pavlensky’s stunts, including nailing his scrotum to the cobblestones in Red Square, slicing off part of his ear and setting fire to the front door of the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters in Moscow. After fleeing Russia and being granted asylum in Paris, Shalygina and Pavlensky spent several months in prison for setting the Bank of France on fire in 2017.

“What happened in France is an extreme level of cruelty. These weren’t just domestic beatings, these were forms of torture comparable to concentration camps,” she told Wonderzine.

Shalygina recounted Pavlensky characterizing the period of sexual and physical violence after his release from prison as a “a path of dictatorship.” “He warned me he’d be as cruel as possible with me,” she said.

“It happened every night before going to bed. The sadistic rape didn’t last long, it was no longer needed after a few days,” she said. “I couldn’t say no and I couldn’t leave either.”

“I remember my lower body, legs and everything else was completely black, it hurt to breathe, it felt like he broke a couple of my ribs. There was a period when he beat me every day, he could beat me over the same bruises again. I was terrifying to look at.” 

Shalygina told Wonderzine she decided to give a detailed account of the violence she endured at the hands of Pavlensky after breaking up with him in late 2018 and opening up to a new friend. 

She said he showed “endless patience” toward their two daughters, though she said they had suffered emotional trauma from witnessing the violence.

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