Tag Archives: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

Pussy Riot, Flaming Lips, Lauryn Hill to Participate in Amnesty International Human RIghts Concert

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 –-

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:


“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.”

For more of this story:

The Guardian

Rolling Stone

The Telegraph

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Russian President Putin Confirms Amnesty for Pussy Riot Members

Maria Alekhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikov. Photo via Earth First!

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that the imprisoned Pussy Riot members will be freed under an amnesty but described their protest against him in a church as “disgraceful behaviour,” NDTV reported.

The amnesty will also free 30 people arrested in a Greenpeace protest against Arctic oil — before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics in February 2014.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are serving two-year sentences for a protest at Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which included the filming the music video “Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”

Putin said the amnesty was passed to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia’s post-Soviet constitution, and not with the Greenpeace protesters or Pussy Riot in mind.

At an annual news conference today Putin said:

“It (the amnesty) is neither linked to Greenpeace, nor this group (Pussy Riot).”

But Putin also said, “I was not sorry that they (the Pussy Riot members) ended up behind bars,” Putin said. “I was sorry that they were engaged in such disgraceful behaviour, which in my view was degrading to the dignity of women. They went beyond all boundaries.”

For more of the story go here.

Pussy Riot-Punk Prayer:

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Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova To Perform at Prison Concerts

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will be performing at several prison concerts this coming Friday and Saturday, according to her lawyer, Irina Khrunova, who shared the information with the online television Dozhd TV.

“She told me over the phone that they would visit a few penitentiaries in the Krasnoyarsk Region with concerts on December 20-21,” Khrunova said. “This is because there is some kind of music band at the hospital she is in that Tolokonnikova [has] very successfully integrated [with]. They will give New Year’s concerts.”

A spokeswoman for the local penitentiary authority, Yekaterina Brotsman, confirmed that Tolokonnikova was scheduled to take part in prison concerts later this week, Radio Free Europe reported.

Tolokonnikova won’t be offering a rendition of Pussy Riot’s “Putin Zassal,” the song that landed her in prison. The title has been translated as “Putin has Pissed Himself,” “Putin Chickened Out,” “Putin Got Scared” and “Putin is Wetting Himself,” according to Wikipedia.

Brotsman said that the repertoire for the concerts had been vetted by prison authorities and will include mostly rock ballads and pop songs.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Pussy Riot Member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to Spend Rest of Prison Term at Hospital

Maria Alyokhina (middle) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (right) are serving two-year sentences; Yekaterina Samutsevich (left) had her sentence suspended. Photo via The Journalist.

The Moscow Times Reports:

Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will spend the rest of her two-year prison term at a hospital in the Krasnoyarsk region, a news report said Monday.

Tolokonnikova made the request herself after she had been examined at the hospital, which is run by the prison, and the authorities will now decide what job to give her while she is there, Itar-Tass reported.

Tolokonnikova’s lawyer said her client was feeling well and has joined the hospital’s band.

Her sentence is set to run until March 2014, but her lawyer thinks that she could be released earlier under an amnesty planned for this month in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Constitution.

A draft of the amnesty is currently under consideration by the State Duma and is expected to be passed on Wednesday. It could come into effect by the weekend.

More here.

Meanwhile, as I previously reported, the Russian Federation Supreme Court has ordered a review of the Pussy Riot verdicts.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Review of Pussy Riot Verdicts Ordered by Russia’s Supreme Court

Photo via Rolling Stone.

A review of the guilty sentences for Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been ordered by Russia’s Supreme Court, according to an Agence France-Presse story.

The two women are currently serving two-year sentences in Russian prisons after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing an anti-Kremlin protest stunt in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Agence France-Presse reports:

With just three months remaining in their sentence, the Supreme Court ruled that the “hatred” was never proven and their status as young mothers of underage children was ignored.

“The court did not provide any proof that Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were motivated by hatred toward any social group in its verdict,” the Supreme Court said in a decision posted on its official website.

The lower court also failed to review “extenuating circumstances”, namely the fact that Alyokhina’s son is only six years old and Tolokonnikova’s daughter is five, it said.

The court also ignored that the pair had no prior convictions, the “non-violent nature of their illegal actions” and the fact that victims of their actions never wanted to punish them so harshly, the document said.

For more on this story, head here.

Both women are to be released in March 2014. However they could be released sooner do to an amnesty that Russian President Putin has submitted to the Russian parliament, or if the review of their verdicts finds that they are not guilty.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Leaked Document Indicates Putin Will Release Pussy Riot Members

Maria Alyokhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

It now appears that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot are likely be pardoned on December 12th as part of a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution, the Russian newspaper Izvestia reports.

In total, some 25,000 prisoners will be pardoned including 30 or so Greenpeace activists, Izvestia reports.

Izvestia is basing the news on a draft of an amnesty bill by Russian President Vladimir Putin that has been submitted to the Russian parliament that the newspaper obtained.

Although the bill does not name individuals, according toe the draft version, among those who will be pardoned are women who have young children and who have not committed violent crimes. That would include Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

-– A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news –-

Pussy Riot Members Not Likely To Get Amnesty

The two incarcerated members of Pussy Riot are not likely to get amnesty, The Guardian reports.

An amnesty bill expected to be passed by the Russian parliament in the next week or so is not expected to apply to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

The two members of the group are serving a two-year prison sentence for ‘hooliganism’ for the “punk prayer” protest against Putin in Russia’s main cathedral in February 2012.

The Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev said today on Russian television that Russians were “not inclined” to grant amnesty to those who had committed violent crimes and “crimes against society including hooliganism.”

Both members of Pussy Riot are due for release in March of 2014.

For more, head to The Guardian.

— A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post: sounds, visuals and/or news —

Russian President Putin Backs Amnesty That Could Free Imprisoned Pussy Riot Members

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that he backed proposals for an amnesty for thousands of prisoners, and his rights advisor says that could free the two imprisoned Pussy Riot women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

“I agree… that such actions must be pacifying,” Putin said in televised comments.

“This amnesty can only apply to individuals who did not commit grave crimes or crimes involving violence against representatives of the authorities, by this I mean law enforcement officers,” Putin told Mikhail Fedotov, head of the presidential rights council, an independent advisory body, and Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin.

“I agree with you that such actions should underscore the humanism of our state,” Putin said, “but they certainly must not … give anyone the impression they can commit a crime today and count on forgiveness from the state tomorrow.”

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina are due for release in March after serving two-year sentences for Pussy Riot’s “punk prayer” protest against Putin in Russia’s main cathedral in February 2012.

The amnesty could free up to 100,000 prisoners, Fedotov said, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.

Fedotov told journalists the amnesty could free the Pussy Riot members.

“I think that yes of course,” Fedotov said. “After all that [what the Pussy Riot members did] was not a violent crime.”

For more, head here.

— A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post —

Remarkable Letters Between Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Slavoj Žižek. Photos via The Guardian.

Today The Guardian published a fascinating exchange of letters that took place from January 2013 to mid-July 2013 between imprisoned Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.

Žižek begins the exchange:

Dear Nadezhda,

I hope you have been able to organise your life in prison around small rituals that make it tolerable, and that you have time to read. Here are my thoughts on your predicament.

John Jay Chapman, an American political essayist, wrote this about radicals in 1900: “They are really always saying the same thing. They don’t change; everybody else changes. They are accused of the most incompatible crimes, of egoism and a mania for power, indifference to the fate of their cause, fanaticism, triviality, lack of humour, buffoonery and irreverence. But they sound a certain note. Hence the great practical power of persistent radicals. To all appearance, nobody follows them, yet everyone believes them. They hold a tuning-fork and sound A, and everybody knows it really is A, though the time-honoured pitch is G flat.” Isn’t this a good description of the effect of Pussy Riot performances? In spite of all accusations, you sound a certain note. It may appear that people do not follow you, but secretly, they believe you, they know you are telling the truth, or, even more, you are standing for truth.

In her response Tolokonnikova writes:

We are the rebels asking for the storm, and believing that truth is only to be found in an endless search. If the “World Spirit” touches you, do not expect that it will be painless.

Laurie Anderson sang: “Only an expert can deal with the problem.” It would have been nice if Laurie and I could cut these experts down to size and take care of our own problems. Because expert status by no means grants access to the kingdom of absolute truth.

Two years of prison for Pussy Riot is our tribute to a destiny that gave us sharp ears, allowing us to sound the note A when everyone else is used to hearing G flat.

At the right moment, there will always come a miracle in the lives of those who childishly believe in the triumph of truth over lies, of mutual assistance, of those who live according to the economics of the gift.


Read all of the letters at The Guardian.