Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova & Maria Alyokhina Are Free

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova after release in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. Photo via the Voice Project.

The two imprisoned members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were freed today (Monday, December 23, 2013) under a new amnesty law. Both women had served nearly all of their two-year sentence.

Maria Alyokhina was set free in the western city of Nizhny Novgorod this morning, while Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was freed later in the day in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk.

Upon her release, Tolokonnikova yelled, “Russia without Putin!,” Rolling Stone reports. She then told reporters:

I’m in the mood to work after getting out from prison. My exit from prison is only just the beginning, as far as the line between freedom and bondage remains very narrow in Russia, in an authoritarian state.

In a telephone interview Alyokhina told the New York Times “she did not want amnesty, and that officials had forced her to leave the prison. She said that the amnesty program was designed to make Mr. Putin look benevolent, and that she would have preferred to serve the remainder of her sentence.”

I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics — particularly for the Western Europeans. But I don’t consider this humane or merciful. This is a lie. We didn’t ask for any pardon. I would have sat here until the end of my sentence because I don’t need mercy from Putin.

More from the New York Times here.

More from Rolling Stone here.

More photos from the Voice Project here.

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