Piotr Pavlenski, Russian protest artist, claims to have uploaded the intimate video

Piotr Pavlenski in 2016 for the presentation of his book, 'Le Cas Pavlenski'. – MARTINI VIRGILIO / SIPA

Russian protest artist Piotr Pavlenski, who burned down the facade of a branch of the Banque de France in 2017, claimed to have posted the sexual video that led to the withdrawal of Benjamin Griveaux's candidacy for mayor from Paris. "He claims to have this video from a" source "who had a consensual relationship with Benjamin Griveaux",
writes the newspaper on his website Release, who had a telephone interview with the refugee artist in France on Thursday evening. The latter said he wanted to "denounce the hypocrisy" of Benjamin Griveaux.

"He is someone who is constantly leaning on family values, who says that he wants to be the mayor of families and always cites his wife and children as an example. But it does just the opposite, "Pavlenski told Liberation. "I don't mind people having the sexuality they want, they can even kiss animals, no problem, but they have to be honest," he said. "He wants to be the head of the city and he lies to the voters. I’m now living in France, I’m Parisian, it’s important to me, ”added the 35-year-old Russian.

A site released an intimate video and connoted messages addressed to a woman on Wednesday evening, claiming they were from the former government spokesman. They were relayed little by little Thursday on social networks, pushing Benjamin Griveaux to withdraw from the race for mayor of Paris Friday morning. On this site, the text accompanying the video is signed "Piotr Pavlenski".

An artist who burned down the Banque de France and the former KGB

Pavlenski was sentenced in January 2019 to three years in prison, including two years suspended, for torching the facade of a Banque de France branch in the capital in October 2017. He and his ex-partner Oksana Chaliguina, who obtained political asylum in France in May 2017, thus intended to denounce the presence of the Banque de France on the Place de la Bastille. According to them, it was an artistic performance entitled "Lighting". Pavlensky made himself known by regularly defying the Russian authorities: he notably sprayed gasoline and burned the doors of the headquarters of the ex-KGB in Moscow.

In 2012, he sewed his lips in support of the Pussy Riot, a group of young women sentenced in Russia to two years in camp for "desecrating" the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow during a "punk prayer Who openly criticized President Vladimir Putin. In June 2016, Pavlensky, who claims to be "political art", had been held for seven months and then fined for "damaging" Lubyanka, the historic seat of the Russian security services.

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