Russian performance artist requests asylum in France

MOSCOW — A controversial Russian performance artist said on Monday has requested asylum in France after being informed of rape accusations against him.

Pyotr Pavlensky faced two trials in Russia last year on vandalism charges for stunts in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In one, he set fire to the doors of the headquarters of the Russian security agency FSB, formerly the KGB, in Moscow, in what he claimed was political art.

Pavlensky told Ukraine's Hromadske television on Monday that he and his wife were detained at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport and told he was facing rape charges. Pavlensky said he was entrapped, but several friends of the actress have voiced support for her.

He says he and his family are seeking political asylum in France.

A Moscow spokesman for the Investigative Committee confirmed to Tass that Pavlensky was being investigated for a possible sex crime.

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