The new information has emerged regarding the Russian couple accused of publishing the sex tape that caused a dirty scandal around the mayoral candidacy of Benjamin Griveaux, considered to be close Emmanuel Macron’s team mate.
Though there is no proofs of Russia’s trace in the scandal, French media has already suggested that it might be something like Russia’s revenge against E.Macron, who gave his most accusatory outburst against Vladimir Putin’s Russia in 2½ years at a security conference in Munich at the weekend.
Now the Russian artist Piotr Pavlenski and his girlfriend, Alexandra de Taddeo are in police custody in France. They are on charge of violating Griveaux’s privacy and distributing images of sexual nature without his agreement. If it is proved, there will be up to two years in prison and a €60,000 fine.
Pavlenski gained ill fame. He is known as a political performance artist. This one became famous in Russia for self-mutilation, protesting against Putin’s abuse of power.
He was actively performing in the period between 2013 and 2017: nailed his scrotum to the paving stones of Red Square, sewed his lips together, cut off an ear in front of the psychiatric institute, and the crux of the biscuit was when he set fire to the doors of the Lubyanka, headquarters of the FSB.
Until now Russian authorities were tolerant with Pavlenski. He is said to left Russia because Russian police warned him that he might be arrested on charges of sexual assaulting of a 23-year-old actor and beating up her ex-boyfriend.
Russian-born Pavlensky, 36, who was granted political asylum in France in 2017, has admitted publishing the specified videos, saying he did so to highlight Griveaux’s “hypocrisy”. Police have been searching for Pavelensky since December after being called to a knife fight.
Griveaux’s lawyer Richard Malka and some French high officials consider Pavlenski had acted with the help of external actor. The specified video was one of the compromising dossiers, actively used by the Russian intelligence to reach its aims.
In custody since Saturday night, De Taddeo reportedly admitted to police that she had received sexual videos from Griveaux, but denied having participated in their posting. Griveaux sent the messages under a Facebook protocol that was supposed to destroy them one minute after they were viewed. De Taddeo somehow recorded them on her smartphone. She said she kept them for revenge, not for political reasons.
The couple’s lawyer, Juan Branco, is also within eyesight. He is a controversial one. It worth mentioning he wrote a book praising Mr.Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks and defended Maxime Nicolle, alias Fly Rider, the gilets jaunes activist who fanned the revolt with disinformation on the internet and even accompanied black-clad rioters who broke down the gate to Griveaux’s then ministry in January 2019, and often bragged that Griveaux had to be rescued by bodyguards.
Branco invited Pavlenski and De Taddeo to a New Year’s Eve party at a fashionable apartment upstairs from the Cafe de Flore in St Germain-des-Prés. There was thrashing because of Pavlenski according to some guests. He cut two guests, one on the thigh, the other on the face. By the time police arrived, he and De Taddeo had fled.
Macron’s position is changing
At the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, the very day Pavlenski and De Taddeo’s arrest, Macron warned that “Russia will continue to try to destabilise” western democracies, “either through private actors, or directly through intelligence services, or through proxies”.
In this case it worth mentioning Russia Today and Sputnik’s activities, inspired by the Kremlin, towards spreading disinformation about Macron’s sexuality during his 2017 presidential campaign. Moreover, tens of thousands of his campaign documents were also disclosed by hackers possibly engaged by the Russian military intelligence.
Two weeks after his victory at presidential race, E.Macron publicly gave a strong critique of Russia’s meddling in the French election during Putin’s visit at Versailles. Many political experts and commentators started discussion about possible Putin’s vendetta.
Many European politicians have accused Macron of naivety for his subsequent “flirting” with Russia. His constant desire to return to France its lost glory, to act as great mediator between Russia and Europe and to be the only person who managed to pacify the “Russian bear” played a low-down trick with Mr Macron. Nobody knows how many deep, dark secrets are hidden in the wardrobes of French politicians and how they will be used by Russian special services.
And now after Griveaux’s “defeat” Macron seems to understand the actual situation and started speaking up that Russia would destabilize Western democracies by interfering in elections, social media manipulation and other acts of cyber warfare using all available means for this.