Russian visual artist and activist Pavel Krisevich was found guilty of “repeatedly violating protest rules” and sentenced to 25 days of administrative arrest after Moscow police detained him for the second time on 7 February 2021 following his street performance, reported The Moscow Times.
Krisevich’s performance titled The Realm of the Russian Person’s Soul was staged as a protest to detentions of citizens following protests supporting now-jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
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“I have done that [performance] to show that Russians are in danger, that they exist in the environment of authoritarian oppression, that they look like a ‘soul’ trapped in a barbed wire. This same ‘Soul’ described by Gogol – neither dead nor alive,” the artist explained the meaning of the performance.
Krisevich told Freemuse that he was previously detained on 24 January 2021 on the same charge.
The artist was arrested due to “disobedience to an order of a police officer” after refusing to provide a passport as he did not have it with him during the performance.
The arrests did not discourage Krisevich from continuing his performances and activism. On the contrary, the artist said that “After the arrests, I started feeling even more inspired for new artistic deeds because when you engage in the fight against the unfair Russian state, you have nothing to lose.”
Krisevich highlighted to Freemuse the importance of authorities’ response to artistic performances and activism to see the impact and changes that these may bring.
This is not the first time when Krisevich has been arrested for “disobedience to an order of a police officer”. On 5 November 2020, he was detained for his performance at Lubyanka Square, titled Political Prisoner at Calvary. The performance aimed to raise attention to the issue of political prisoners in Russia.
Pavel Krisevich is a visual artist and activist who attracts attention to political issues, particularly political prisoners in Russia through art. He sees activism-artivism as a tool that can potentially bring change to the repressions in Russia.
When asked about the state of artistic freedom in Russia, Krisevich said that freedom of creativity is “declining every month” now. He highlights the issue of detentions of artists and activists and adds that,
“[…] In general, our situation is not shiny, but I want to believe that we will gain our freedom even if we have to go through imprisonment and accusations.”
Follow and support Pavel Krisevich’s artistic work on his Instagram account.