RFE/RL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Autor)
MOSCOW -- Russian protest artist Pavel Krisevich has been detained after his "suicide" performance in which he used a nonlethal firearm on Red Square in Moscow.
Witnesses say Krisevich fired a pistol twice into the air on June 11 at Moscow's main tourist attraction, and then once more while he held the gun to his head.
His girlfriend Anastasia Mikhailova said the pistol was a noncombat model loaded with blank ammunition.
While shooting, Krisevich chanted: "There will be shots before the Kremlin's curtain!"
According to his girlfriend, the performance's goal was to support political prisoners in Russia.
Police also detained journalist Nika Samusik who recorded the performance on video.
The Open Media Telegram channel published a picture of the pistol along with a statement where Krisevich called his performance "a kill shot" aimed at "state intimidation."
"The state labels protests as crimes. It forces us to think that we are criminals in our cells and chats. But what is it without state intimidation? Clearly, it is an empty space," Krisevich's statement says.
Krisevich is known for his protest performances.
In November, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail after he performed a protest in front of the Federal Security Service's headquarters in Moscow where he was "crucified" on a large cross with a pile of files burning under it, symbolizing criminal cases against Russian citizens.
He was then expelled from a Moscow university.
In May he was sentenced to 10 days in jail after he took part in an action organized by activists to support political prisoners by displaying their paintings in central Moscow.
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