Who is Piotr Pavlenski, the man who claims the publication of the intimate videos attributed to Benjamin Griveaux?

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Fluffiness carried away by the disclosure of a sextape

PORTRAIT – Russian activist and artist who has taken refuge in France, Piotr Pavlenski has demanded the publication of videos of an intimate conversation by Benjamin Griveaux. A man accustomed for almost ten years to controversy and blows. Contacted by LCI, he justified his action.

Benjamin Griveaux threw in the towel this Friday in the race for mayor of Paris, following the publication of documents invading his privacy. Behind the "Pornopolitics" site that published them is a man: Piotr Pavlenski. In a phone call to Release, this Russian artist and activist claimed the upload of this intimate video. "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. "But he wants to be the head of the city and he lies to the voters. I now live in France, I'm Parisian, it's important to me."

Contacted by LCI, Pavlenski went even further: "Griveaux was the first, we will continue. The activity of my site is just beginning," he warns. "Benjamin Griveaux must be clear. My objective is to denounce puritanism in politics and the hypocrisy of those responsible. Today this objective is achieved. For me, he is hypocritical. He constantly uses his family, his wife, his children. for his public image when he does just the opposite. I think a person in charge should be clear. "

Mutilation as a means of expression

How did this 35-year-old man, born in Saint Petersburg in 1984, get such a video? The blur persists. "Benjamin Griveaux must be clear. My objective is to denounce puritanism in politics and the hypocrisy of those responsible. Today this objective is achieved. For me, he is hypocritical. He constantly uses his family, his wife, his children. for his public image when he does just the opposite. I think a person in charge should be clear. " It is nevertheless possible to trace the traces of this activist who claims a political art, expressed through public performances.

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It was in 2012 that Piotr Pavlenski became known to the general public. In order to defend his fellow Russian feminist members of the Pussy Riot, he then sewed his lips. A way to denounce the imprisonment of two activists who had challenged Vladimir Putin with a punk prayer in a Moscow cathedral.

Pavlenski did it again in 2013 and resorted to self-harm again by nailing his genitals between the cobblestones of Red Square in Moscow. This action, which he called "fixation", aimed, according to the artist, to propose a "metaphor for apathy, political indifference and fatalism in modern Russian society". A few months earlier, it was in his hometown of Saint Petersburg that he wound himself, naked, in barbed wire, denouncing repressive laws.

The PĂ©tersbourgeois, customary of "performances" in public, again used nudity in October 2014. After having climbed completely undressed the wall of a mental hospital, he cut a piece of his right ear. "The return of psychiatry for political gain gives the police the power to determine the line between reason and madness," he said.

Sentenced to one year in prison in France

Targeted by an investigation after having nailed his scrotum, Piotr Pavlenski was arrested and then placed in preventive detention at the end of 2015. Russian justice then accused him of having set fire to the doors of the old headquarters of the KGB. During his imprisonment, he spent a month in a psychiatric hospital, at the end of which experts assured that the artist did not suffer from "any psychiatric illness" and thus considered him fully responsible for his actions . "The test results are in my favor," said Pavlenski.

The militant's life was marked by a turning point at the beginning of 2017. Accused with his partner Oksana Chaliguina of attempted rape by an actress of an independent Moscow theater, he chose to leave and France. deploring what he calls "false denunciation", he files an asylum request and takes refuge in Paris. AT Marianne, he says to himself "ready to go to prison, but not to lead a partner and children in misfortune" for facts which he certifies not to have committed and considers "fabricated from scratch".

After obtaining his asylum request, Piotr Pavlenski continued his artistic activism. His first action in France took place in October 2017, when he burned trash stuck to the facade of a branch of the Banque de France. Why did you target it specifically? Because it "took the place of the Bastille", justifies the artist in a press release, "the bankers have taken the place of the monarchs". Placed in pretrial detention in Fleury-MĂ©rogis, Pavlenski enjoys after almost a year in prison a liberty under judicial control. At the end of his trial, he was sentenced to one year in prison but remains free given the length of his previous imprisonment.

The activist's story was told in a book. Entitled "The Pavlensky Case", it presents his vision of "politics as art". Thursday evening, after the publication of the intimate video involving Benjamin Griveaux, the Russian thirty-something justified his actions. "He is someone who constantly relies on family values, who says that he wants to be the mayor of the families and always cites his wife and children as an example. But he does the opposite." By signing his gesture, the artist once again claimed a thumbs up on power (s). It will also have to assume the probable legal consequences of such publication.

To defend himself, Piotr Pavlenski can count on the lawyer Juan Branco. This last, interviewed by a journalist from the Figaro, explained the approach of his client: "He considers that the regime in France is violent and repressive for his people. His act is therefore a political act. I warned him of the risks …"

Involved in another matter

At midday this Friday, Mediapart revealed that before "rocking the Paris campaign", Piotr Pavlenski was already in the sights of the police. On New Years Eve of December 31, the Russian is suspected of having injured two people with a large knife. This altercation, notes the site, would have occurred "in an opulent Parisian apartment on boulevard Saint-Germain", on the occasion of a party "co-organized by Juan Branco", lawyer who today assists the activist in the legal proceedings awaiting him.

"I do believe the police want to hear it," said Marie-Alix Canu-Bernard, lawyer for Piotr Pavlenski in the first case, told Mediapart. If the latter acknowledges his involvement in a fight, he denies the use of a weapon. The knife mentioned was allegedly brandished only to dissuade "provocateurs" from attacking him.

The version delivered by a witness differs: the artist would indeed have tried to strike with this knife before a guest "broke a bottle of champagne on his head". Despite this blow, Pavlenski was able to plant the blade in one person's thigh and injure a second in the face. Conflicts which meant that the Russian had been wanted by the police since the beginning of January for willful violence with a weapon.

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