At his trial in St. Petersburg this week, a controversial Russian artist has called in his own defense Pavel Yasman, the former investigator who first launched the case against him. Petr Pavlensky, who’s famous for wrapping himself nude in barbed wire, sewing his mouth shut, and hammering a nail through his scrotum, is now in court for setting fire to several tires in downtown St. Petersburg in February 2014, a day after the Maidan revolution ousted Viktor Yanukovych from the Ukrainian presidency.
Pavlensky’s tire-burning act, which he named “Freedom,” involved barricading a bridge in St. Petersburg, burning tires, and beating metal sheets with sticks, in order to recreate the atmosphere of the Maidan revolution in Kiev. Police detained Pavlensky and everyone else who participated in the incident, but didn’t immediately press charges. In March 2014, however, Pavlensky was charged with vandalism.
“Yasman’s first case in St. Petersburg was the incident with the burning tires. [...] He hesitated and didn’t want to prosecute Pavlensky. [...] He took a breather and quit the Investigative Committee,” the website Furfur writes.
Pavel Yasman became a public figure in July 2014, after the website Snob published a transcript of Pavlensky’s police interrogation.