Pyotr Pavlensky & his extreme protest against state repression and societal indifference


Pyotr Pavlensky sews his mouth in action against repression of Pussy Riot

Pyotr Pavlensky’s latest protest action against police repression by nailing his scrotum to a hole between Red Square paving stones.

Russian actionism has reached a new extreme in the latest protest by Pyotr Pavlensky who ‘celebrated’ the day of the Russian policeman by nailing his genitals to a hole between the cobblestones on Red Square. An action which had as its raison d’etre a protest against state repression.In many ways he repeats the self-harm ethos of the Viennese actionists while lending it a social and political context. His actions have engendered quite a lively discussion regarding whether the action was justified or not.

Here, however, is his own statement and his own rationale:

The action can be seen as a metaphor of the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of contemporary Russian society. It is not bureaucratic lawlessness which deprives society of the possibility to act but the obsession with our defeats and losses which nail us ever more into the Kremlin’s paving stones, creating an army of stuffed dummies patiently awaiting their fate.

Now as the authorities turn the country into one large penal colony, openly robbing the population and sending the proceeds so as to increase and enrich police apparatuses and other security services, society is allowing this tyranny and through its inaction the triumph of a police state is drawing nearer.

About afoniya

I am a translator, language teacher, independent film scholar who is interested in many aspects of culture. I have my own blog on Russian and Soviet cinema at and I have also written for journals such as Film Philosophy and Bright Lights as well as Ribbed magazine. Outside of film my interest runs to language, politics, literature and my world is centred around the Meditteranean, Russia, Southern Ukraine as well as the UK.

6 responses »

  1. Pingback: Pyotr Pavlensky & his extreme protest against state repression and societal indifference | Research Material

  2. Pingback: On other recent protests in Moscow. | Afoniya's Blog

  3. Pingback: Pyotr Pavlensky s’inchioda i testicoli in Piazza Rossa per protestare contro il Cremlino | Random Blinking Light

  4. Pingback: Reaction in Russia to ‘Fixation’: 1) Pavlensky’s post-act interview | Afoniya's Blog

  5. Pingback: Pavlensky's Body in Protest - Sean's Russia Blog

  6. Pingback: The Power of Pavlensky’s Nailed Body | agenda de lecturi

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