MOSCOW, April 21 (RAPSI, Diana Gutsul) – Preliminary hearings in the criminal case against Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, accused of setting fire to the Moscow headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB), will begin on April 28, Pavlensky’s lawyer Dmitriy Dinze told RAPSI on Thursday.
“According to investigators, on the night of November 8, 2015, Pavlensky threw a petrol can upon the front door of the FSB headquarters in central Moscow which is a heritage building,” according to the statement of the Prosecutor General’s Office.
On April 5, Pavlensky filed an appeal against his detention with the European Court of Human Rights.
Earlier, the Tagansky District Court in Moscow extended the detention of Pavlensky until May 5. The artist said that charges against him had been reclassified from ‘vandalism’ to ‘destruction of cultural heritage sites’.
Investigators reclassified the charges because “many prominent men have been repressed in this building,” Pavlensky said. The arson caused an estimated 480,000 rubles ($7,000) of damage.
Pavlensky’s lawyer Dmitriy Dinze told RAPSI earlier this move by the investigation can’t be viewed as either easing or tightening of charges. Both articles of the Criminal Code provide the same maximum prison sentence of three years.
Pavlensky has been found sane; he would not face compulsory treatment in a mental hospital.
Eccentric artist Pavlensky was arrested on November 9, 2015, along with several other people who claim to be journalists that were invited to the artist’s performance. The next day Pavlensky was detained under a court decision. In late November, his detention was extended until May 5.
Pavlensky is known for a number of controversial performances.
In July 2012, he sewed up his mouth and stood at the Kazan Cathedral with a poster in support of Pussy Riot.
In May 2013, Pavlensky lay down on the ground in front of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly naked with barbed wire around his body.
In November 2013, also naked, Pavlensky nailed his scrotum to the Red Square pavement near the Lenin Mausoleum.
In October 2014, he staged an eccentric stunt on the roof of the Serbsky Mental Institution in Moscow by cutting off one of his earlobes.
In February 2015, Pavlensky and his accomplices burned car tyres, waved Ukrainian flags and banged sheet metal with sticks in a show of solidarity with the anti-government protesters in Ukraine. The performance was held near the Church of the Savior on Blood in St. Petersburg.