Russian shock artist arrested in France days after leaking sex tapes of Macron party ex-candidate for Paris mayor

Pavlensky was arrested by police after he left his hotel in Paris on Saturday, Le Parisien reported. BFM TV said that the artist had been wanted over “banditry with the use of dangerous means” since an incident at a party on January 1.

At the time, the Russian reportedly had a heated argument with a group of people and grabbed a knife to add weight to his stance. He ended up injuring two partygoers, but was himself hit in the head with a bottle.

The artist insisted that he had to face off against around a dozen adversaries and used the knife only to scare them off. He said he then dropped the weapon on the floor without wounding anybody.

He’s already serving a three-year suspended sentence for setting the entrance to the Bank of France on fire to decry “tyranny” and encourage a new revolution in the country back in 2017.

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French law enforcement had a month-and-a-half to apprehend Pavlensky, but they decided to move against him at a really curious moment. 

The man was making headlines in the country due to his role in the sex scandal involving Paris mayor candidate Benjamin Griveaux from President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party.

On Valentine’s Day, Griveaux announced that he was withdrawing his candidacy a month before the election in order to shield his family, who had been the subject of “defamatory statements, lies, anonymous attacks, exposure of secret private conversations, as well as death threats,” from further harassment.

The politician said the final straw was the publication of sex tapes by Pavlensky’s website, Pornopolitique. However, he neither denied nor confirmed the authenticity of the materials leaked by the shock artist.

Pavlensky accused Griveaux of being a hypocrite, saying that the father of three ran on a platform of family values while actually leading a completely different lifestyle.

He backed those claims by releasing what he said was the politician’s correspondence with a young woman. It included Griveaux allegedly confessing that he considered marriage a “prison” as well as some of the intimate photos and videos he sent to the female. 

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To add to Pavlensky’s problems, Griveaux filed a complaint over “invasion of privacy” after the leak and prosecutors have opened an investigation into the matter.

Before his arrest, Pavlensky wrote on Facebook that the Pornopolitique website was blocked by the French authorities after being online for less than three days.

But the artist vowed to keep publishing compromising data on other French politicians, saying that this was what “freedom of speech” looks like.

“I won’t allow any power to destroy what I put so much effort and time into. And I promise to all viewers and readers that the Pornopolitique portal will be restored,” he wrote.

Pavlensky was propelled to international notoriety by a series of politically-charged stunts with the involvement of self-harm in Russia over the last decade. In 2012, he sewed his mouth shut in support of the members of the Pussy Riot punk band, who were charged with hooliganism after an unsanctioned gig at Moscow’s main cathedral. His other notable performance saw him undressing and nailing his scrotum to the pavement of Red Square.

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In 2017, the artist was accused of sexually assaulting a woman and asked for political asylum in France, arguing that he was being persecuted by the Russian government over his activism.

France took him in but apparently quickly regretted that decision as Pavlensky’s over-the-top performances continued there and now target the French authorities.

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