Federal Security Service in the thrall of the Federal Security Service
The actionist Petr Pavlensky is found guilty of setting fire to the door of the Federal Security Service building in Lubyanka and was released in the courtroom. He is obliged to pay 500 000 rubles’ fine and 481,500 rubles of compensation (but he does not intend to do so). The process has become a bright and clear continuation of the action "Threat", and it can be considered an undisputable success of the artist.
The scandal with the exception of the number of nominees for the award "Innovation" today looks a little different: perhaps it was necessary to nominate the Federal Security Service together with Pavlensky. The special intelligence Agency eagerly played up to him for some time. As a result of the process it became possible to raise the important issues of the Federal Security Service continuity with respect to the Soviet repressive apparatus. The artist is convicted of damage to cultural heritage sites – this is how the Prosecutor's office explained the value of the building on Lubyanka. In fact, in the 1930s, the prominent cultural figures were kept under arrest in this very building. The expert opinion was submitted to the court by historian Nikita Petrov - about the Federal Security Service continuity with respect to the Special Commission - United State Political Administration - People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs - People's Commissariat of State Security - Ministry of Governmental Security – Ministry of Internal Affairs – Committee of Governmenal Security and how these bodies were engaged in the investigation of the State terrorism. In the judgment one can even spot the phrase "the front door of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs – Committee of Governmental Security -Federal Security Service of Russia" (although at the hearing it became clear that the intelligence agency illegally replaced the historic door by the remake in 2008).
But the appeal of Pavlensky reclassifies charge his accuse in an article about terrorism has not been satisfied (the action itself symbolically repeats what the Federal Security Service accused the Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov and the activist Alexander Kol'chenko of. Both of them ended up with 20 and 10 years of strict regime. The system, against which the action was directed, did not seek a serious sentence.
Explaining the formal grounds of the verdict, the Head of "Agora" Pavel Chikov notes that it corresponds to minor offenses committed for the first time and without aggravating circumstances. But formal grounds did not help previously: two years’ sentence given for the information sharing in the social networks or for dancing in the temple, 4.5 years for the damage to the tooth enamel of the policeman or 20 years for setting fire to the door of the regional office of "United Russia" - and all this without paying attention to small children of the convicted. Besides, there was the refuse to treat dying in jail.
In part, the fact is that the system judges intent in itself, says Chikov. Pussy Riot, in the opinion of the authorities, wanted to discredit the Patriarch and the Russian Orthodox Church, the participants of the "swamp case" were trying to change the regime, the group of Sentsov aimed at returning Crimea to Ukraine. The intent of Pavlensky is harder to understand. It is not connected with political reality, but with abstractions, its purpose is not the regime change, but the disclosure of the Russian society’s deep fear of the secret police. And the system is not interested in abstractions, it does not know how to interpret them and deal with them. The actions of the group "War", despite their provocative character, did not end up starting the court processes.