Performance Artist Arrested After Setting Fire to Federal Building in Moscow

A Russian artist and activist by the name of Petr Pavlensky has been arrested after he set aflame the main entrance of the Federal Security Service building in Lubyanka Square in Moscow last Sunday night, according to a report by Alyona Lapina at the Art Newspaper. The act was apparently part of a performance piece called Threat.

Of his performance, Pavlensky said in a statement: “Burning the door of Lubyanka is a glove that society throws in the face of the terrorist threat. Federal Security Service operates through uninterrupted terror and holds power over 146 million people…fear turns free people into a sticky mass of disparate bodies. An inevitable reprisal threatens everyone who is within the reach of surveillance, eavesdropping devices, and passport control borders. Military courts eliminate any manifestation of a free will. But terrorism can only exist based on the animal instinct of fear.”

Pavlensky was taken into official custody and two journalists who documented the performance, Vladimir Romensky and Nigina Beroeva, were also detained so that they could serve as witnesses. The artist has already been on trial for vandalism after his 2014 performance Freedom in St. Petersburg, in which he led the building of a makeshift barricade on the Tripartite Bridge.