Pyotr Pavlensky, the Russian protest artist, demanded once again in a Moscow court on Friday, 26 February, to be tried on terrorism charges for a performance in which he set fire to the doors of the Federal Security Service (FSB). Pavlensky was arrested after that piece in November and at end of the pre-trial hearing, Judge Natalya Larina extended his detention until 5 April. The artist is being charged with ideologically motivated vandalism.
In a video from the courtroom posted on YouTube
, Pavlensky is shown smiling as he is led into the defendant’s cage. “I’m happy to see everyone,” he says, to supporters’ applause. Pavlensky adds that he was flattered by the alleged motive of “ideological hatred” since “I can’t imagine what other feelings one can have towards such an organisation”, referring to the FSB, which “began as a terrorist organisation and continues to be a terrorist organisation”.
Befuddled policemen looked on from outside the cage. Pavlensky said he expected the hearings to be “rather funny”.
Earlier this week, Pavlensky was transferred from the Serbsky Centre hospital, where he had undergone a month-long court-ordered psychiatric evaluation, back to Moscow’s infamous Butyrka prison. The artist is known for sewing his mouth shut and nailing his scrotum to Red Square in protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. Investigators said the results of the psychiatric evaluation are not yet ready.