Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Artist Mutilates Self as Putin Paralyzes Russia

On Nov. 10, Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky undressed on Moscow's Red Square, right in front of Lenin's tomb, sat down and nailed his scrotum to the pavement.

On Nov. 10, Russian performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky undressed on Moscow's Red Square, right in front of Lenin's tomb, sat down and nailed his scrotum to the pavement.

Reactions to the radical act, which Pavlensky meant to be a "metaphor of the apathy, political indifference and fatalism of modern Russian society," ranged from disbelief to mockery. A police source told state-owned news agency RIA Novosti that the action constituted normal behavior "for a mentally ill person."