Russian Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Donates His Human Rights Award to Imprisoned Guerrilla Group

Members of the group have been convicted in the deaths of two Russian policemen.

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky smiles during a hearing at a court in Moscow on February 26, 2016.Photo: Dmitry Serebryakov/AFP/Getty Images.
Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky smiles during a hearing at a court in Moscow on February 26, 2016.
Photo: Dmitry Serebryakov/AFP/Getty Images.

Having received the human rights award Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent for 2016, jailed Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlenksyhas has given the $42,000 cash prize to group the Primorye Guerrillas, who are also in prison in Russia.

Pavlensky’s girlfriend Oksana Shalygina accepted the prize on his behalf in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, on May 25, stating that he would donate the money to the group who are currently serving sentences in Russia for a series of attacks on police, according to Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.

The Primorye Guerrillas carried out a series of attacks against the police that lead to the deaths of two officers in Far Eastern Russia in 2010. Subsequently, the Russian authorities imposed long prison sentences on six group members.

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky poses after setting fire to the doors of the headquarters of the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB, in central Moscow early on November 9, 2015.Photo: Nigina Beroeva/AFP/Getty Images.

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky poses after setting fire to the doors of the headquarters of the FSB security service, the successor to the KGB, in central Moscow early on November 9, 2015.
Photo: Nigina Beroeva/AFP/Getty Images.

Radical performance artist Pavlensky, who faces trial for damaging a cultural site in Moscow last autumn for setting fire to the doors of the Federal Security Service (FSB) in his performance Threat (2015), was assaulted recently while in transit from court back to prison after a hearing.

Pyotr Pavlensky is removed by police from the roof of Moscow’s Serbsky psychiatric center, after cutting his earlobe offPhoto via: Oksana Shalygina's Facebook

Pyotr Pavlensky is removed by police from the roof of Moscow’s Serbsky psychiatric center, after cutting his earlobe off. Photo via: Oksana Shalygina’s Facebook

Pavlensky is doing his best to draw attention to what he sees as the corruption of the Russian state. The series of performances, which have landed him in custody, placed in a facility for the mentally ill, and facing an array of charges, have included cutting off his own earlobe and nailing his scrotum to the cobbles of the Red Square.

Pavlensky has foxed the Russian authorities at every turn in moves that have included refusing reduced charges, and hiring sex workers to testify against him in court in his unrelenting efforts to undermine and expose what he sees as a corrupt system.

Last week Pavlensky was found guilty on vandalism charges for setting fire to tires in protest Russia’s role in the situation in the Ukraine but due to the statute of limitations on the crime he will not serve prison time for the conviction.

Pavlensky shares the prize, given by the American organization Human Rights Foundation (HRF) with Uzbek photojournalist Umida Akhmedova, and Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani.


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