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who is Piotr Pavlenski, the Russian artist who claims the publication of intimate videos?

This 30-year-old, known for regularly defying the Kremlin and Vladimir Poutine, obtained political asylum in France in 2017.

He claims to want “denounce hypocrisy” by Benjamin Griveaux. Russian protest artist Piotr Pavlenski, 35, has demanded the publication of videos of a sexual nature that led to the withdrawal of Benjamin Griveaux's candidacy for mayor of Paris. “He claims to have this video from a 'source' who had a consensual relationship with Benjamin Griveaux”, writes on its website the newspaper Release, who had a telephone interview with him on Thursday evening. Here is a brief portrait of this artist, a refugee in France since 2017.

>> Benjamin Griveaux's withdrawal: follow the latest information live

He's a notorious opponent of Vladimir Putin

Piotr Pavlensky made himself known by regularly defying the Russian authorities: he notably sprayed with petrol and burned the doors of the headquarters of the former 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 having “profane” the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow during a “punk prayer” which openly criticized President Vladimir Putin.

Whoever claims to “political art” don't stop at anything to get your ideas across. In 2013, it is thus wound in barbed wire before the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg to protest against laws deemed repressive; a few months later, he nailed his testicles on the pavement of Red Square, in Moscow in order to denounce the apathy of Russian society. In June 2016, Piotr Pavlenski was held for seven months before being fined for having “Damaged” Lubyanka, the historic seat of the Russian security services.

He was charged with sexual violence in Russia

Piotr Pavlenski and his ex-girlfriend Oksana Chaliguina arrived in France in January 2017 with their two young daughters, after a month-long journey through Eastern Europe, as the artist had told USAinformations. The reason for her departure: accusations of sexual violence in a meeting against a young Russian actress. If he doesn't deny the existence of a relationship “close” with it, Piotr Pavlenski denies any violence, when she says he threatened her and stabbed with stab wounds. “My mistake was to trust this girl”, he defended himself in 2017.

Yes Piotr Pavlenski ensures that the Kremlin used this story to discredit it, Dominique Derda, France 2 correspondent in Russia, remembers that there was “a lot of questions around this file”. “The actress who claims to be the victim of violence is anything but a poutinian muse, she comes from one of the rare anti-power theaters. And her colleagues say that she is not at all a mythomaniac “, he testified on franceinfo in 2017. Piotr Pavlenski and his ex-partner obtained political asylum in France in May 2017.

He was sentenced in France for an action and is the subject of an investigation for violence

The thirty-something Russian artist continues his work in France through his protest performances. In January 2019, Piotr Pavlenski was thus sentenced to three years in prison, including 2 years suspended, for having set fire to the facade of a branch of the Banque de France in the capital in October 2017. His objective was to denounce the presence of the Banque de France on the Place de la Bastille. According to the artist and his ex-partner, it was an artistic performance entitled Lighting.

It is not the only legal twist of the Russian artist in France. As revealed Mediapart, the person concerned is under investigation for acts of violence with a weapon committed on the night of December 31, 2019 to January 1, 2020 in the 6th arrondissement. Information confirmed by judicial sources to Franceinfo. He is suspected of having stabbed in an apartment fight, which he disputes.

He is defended by the lawyer Juan Branco

Activist lawyer Juan Branco told Figaro and at Point to have been consulted by Piotr Pavlenski on the publication of these videos and intimate messages. He consulted me as a lawyer. I understood that, for him, it was a political act, he assures the weekly. In the same way that he opposed the Putin regime, he was ready to do anything to oppose Macron's regime, which he considers just as repressive. ” “His act is therefore a political act. I warned him of the risks …” Juan Branco also told a journalist from Figaro.

Candidate for the legislative elections in 2017 for La France insoumise en Seine-Saint-Denis, Juan Branco continues: “He says it is the first video in a series. (…) I started from the assumption that he knew what he was doing. (…) But he only affects people who do the game of peopolization. “

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