Sixteen years after it’s last human rights concert, Amnesty International has organized a new concert and Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina will be there.
On February 5, 2014 The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons, Ms. Lauryn Hill, The Fray, Tegan and Sara, Cold War Kids, Collbie Caillat, Cake and others will perform for the human rights organization at Barclays Center in Brooklyn .
According to a press release about the concert, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina “will address attendees at the concert to raise awareness about prisoners of conscience.”
In a statement the two Pussy Riot members said:
We are happy to support Amnesty International’s work on behalf of human rights and political prisoners. We, more than anyone, understand how important Amnesty’s work is in connecting activists to prisoners… A month ago we were freed from Russian prison camps. We will never forget what it’s like to be in prison after a political conviction. We have vowed to continue helping those who remain behind bars and we hope to see you all at the Amnesty International concert on February 5th in Brooklyn!
-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-
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:
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
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.
Reuters reported this evening that Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina is now free.
Maria Alyokhina, a member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot, walked free from jail on Monday under an amnesty allowing her early release from a two-year sentence for a protest in a church against President Vladimir Putin.
“They’ve just released her,” Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is also due to be released under the amnesty, told Reuters.