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Russian Performance Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Freed From Prison After Conviction

A still from a video of the action.

A still from a video of the action.

The Moscow Times reports that performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky has been released from prison seven months after setting fire to the Federal Security Service building as part of his piece Threat. Lubyanka’s Burning Door (2015). Convicted of the crime of damaging a cultural site, the artist was ordered to pay fines totaling nearly 1 million rubles ($15,628).  This news comes less than a month after Pavlensky was found guilty of vandalism for a 2014 piece in which he built a barricade on a Saint Petersburg bridge in order to recreate pro-Ukraine protests.

According to the Times, after being released Pavlensky said, “It does not matter how the trial ended. What is important is that we were able to unmask, uncover the truth: the government is founded on the methods of terror.”

Pavlensky, whose works showcase his radical opposition to Vladimir Putin’s administration, is known for pieces like Fixation (2013), in which he nailed his scrotum to the pavement outside of Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square.

Though the judge’s verdict was decidedly lenient in context of similar cases, Pavlensky told press that he has no intention of paying the fines, saying of the decision, “It suits them—to show a hypocritical humanitarian face.”

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