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Russian Protest Artist Pavlensky Sets Fire To Entrance Of Paris Bank

Pyotr Pavlenski (right) and his partner, Oksana Shalygina, in Paris in January


Russian protest performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky set fire to an entrance of the Bank of France in Paris, according to photographs and accounts on social media.

Photos of the overnight stunt were posted on Twitter on October 16.

There was no immediate explanation of any motive for the action at the French central bank, which echoed a previous one in which he set fire to a door at the headquarters of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB).

Pavlensky, his partner, Olga Shalygina, and their children received political asylum in France in May after they fled Russia in January.

Russian police questioned Pavlensky and Shalygina in December, saying that a Moscow actress had accused them of raping her.

Pavlensky denied the allegation and described it as blackmail aimed to prevent him from carrying out political activities in Russia.

Pavlensky, who is known for startling protests that sometimes involve self-mutilation, says his performances draw attention to the indifference of many Russians to what he says is widespread Federal Security Service (FSB) control over society.

He spent 18 months in pretrial detention after he doused a large wooden door at the FSB headquarters on Moscow's Lubyanka Square with gasoline and set it on fire in November 2015.

He was released in June 2016 and ordered to pay a hefty fine, which he refused to do.

Pavlensky has also nailed his scrotum to Red Square, sewn his lips together, wrapped himself in barbed wire, and chopped off part of his ear.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service