St. Petersburg’s Anarchist Actionist Petr Pavlensky appeared in a Moscow court earlier this week, after being charged with “hooliganism motivated by political, ideological, racial, ethnic or religious hatred or animosity towards any social group” (Article 213) for nailing his scrotum the Red Square.
Which social group? Neither the judge nor the prosecutor could specify.
The motive of ‘hatred against a social group’ does not seem operational, because the Russian law lacks a definition of ‘a social group,’ giving too much discretion to enforcers.
Pavlensky pleaded not guilty to hateful “hooliganism” and declined the non-disclosure agreement the court tried to get him to sign, his lawyer tells Grani.ru. The artist was released with charges still standing and will have to appear in court again. He faces five years in prison if convicted.
The official reason Pavlensky is being charged are these complaints filed by the Fond of War on Rusophobia (translated):
1-214 УК РФ: Vandalism
1-244 УК РФ: Desecration of the dead and their burial places
1-282 УК РФ: Incitement of hatred or hostility, and humiliation of human dignity
The Fond’s lawyer is very upset that the artist is only being charged for “hooliganism.” He demands “a more severe punishment” because of the “mockery of public order, insulting sanctities, located on the Red Square, as well his disrespect of the police” and the “desecration of the Heart of Russia.”
To translate that further, when Pavlensky put a nail through his scrotum and between the cobblestones of the Red Square on November 10th — Russia’s Police Day — he vandalized the cobblestones, he desecrated the dead (sup, Lenin?) and disrespected the police! He put that scrotummy nail right through the Heart of Russia!
That day, after being arrested and released without charges, he declined hospitalization.
He then went on to give several interviews to the press, explaining that his action Fixation (2013) is a metaphor for the “apathy and fatalism of modern Russian society,” and how it was a call against passively accepting the fate under a tyrannical government and its goons, as Russia approaches a total Police State. He appeared as a sane, calm intellectual on screen. He was retroactively charged with “hooliganism” shortly after.
“To not be crushed completely, a person must resist the system,” Pavlensky said in told ANIMAL in our extensive interview.
Pavlensky will be back to resist the system in court at a yet-undetermined date.