Pussy Riot Members Meet the Press: ‘I don’t want to live in [Putin’s] terrifying fairytale’

Maria Alyokhina ( left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova at first press conference since leaving prison. Photo via The Guardian.

On Friday December 27, 2913, two days after Christmas, the two just-freed members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina held their first press conference since their release at the studios of the Russian opposition TV station, TV Rain. The spoke before 100s of journalists.

Here are some of their comments:

Tolokonnikova:

“The message of our action in the cathedral is still valid. Our attitude to Putin hasn’t changed at all. By Putin we mean the bureaucratic machine he has built. We’d like to do what we said in our last action – we’d like him to go away.”

“Vladimir Putin is a very closed, opaque chekist [Russian slang for a secret policeman]. He is very much afraid. He builds walls around him that block out reality. Many of the things he said about Pussy Riot were so far from the truth, but it was clear he really believed them. I think he believes that Western countries are a threat, that it’s a big bad world out there where houses walk on chicken legs and there is a global masonic conspiracy. I don’t want to live in this terrifying fairytale.”

They spoke about their new human rights organization, Zone of Law [ a play on “the zone,” shorthand for “prison camp” in Russian]. The new organization will offer legal aid to prisoners who complain of violence, threats, abuse and overwork, according to Rolling Stone.

Tolokonnikova:

“We already started to do this [human rights work] in the camp. There we had nothing; the only thing we had was our will. After my hunger strike and letter, the 16-hour slave-working day has become a thing of the past, and they’ve begun to release people on parole. Fear has appeared among the guards at the colony. It’s unbelievably important now to continue this work.”

Alyokhina:

“We really are provocateurs. But there’s no need to say that word like it’s a swear word. Art is always provocation.”

Tolokonnikova said her thinking has evolved while in prison, and it was now “absolutely obvious” that if she could redo the past, she would not participate in the band’s 2011 “punk prayer” against Putin.

Tolokonnikova:

“I was smaller, I was younger and I had other understandings about my goals. I don’t think that you have to chain yourself to some moments in the past. I would like to be judged by those things that I’m going to do now.”

And there will be no Pussy Riot concerts to capitalize on their notoriety.

Alyokhina: “I think we can popularize our ideas without concerts.”

For more of this story:

The Guardian

Rolling Stone

The Telegraph

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About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael recently completed his first novel, Days of the Crazy-Wild, and is currently writing a second novel.

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