Tag Archives: Russia

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 Members Could Be Freed This Week

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

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, currently serving a two-year prison sentence, could be freed by the end of the week under a new amnesty, their lawyer said today.

Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, unanimously approved the amnesty proposed by Russian President Putin on the first of three required readings today

“According to the draft law passed today, my clients will be freed,” lawyer Irina Khrunova said in a phone interview with Bloomberg News.

For more of this story, head here.

And for a strange story in which Russian officials discussed Tolokonnikova’s beauty via Twitter, head here.

-– 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 –-

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 —

Watch: Bonnie “Prince” Billy Sings “Black Captain” For Greenpeace’s Peter Willcox

Bonnie “Prince” Billy released a new recording of his “Black Captain” on Saturday, dedicated to Greenpeace captain Peter Willcox, who was recently released from a jail in St. Petersburg after spending over two months in Russian custody, the Huffington Post reports.

Read more at Huffington Post.

— A Days of the Crazy-Wild blog post —

Books: New Collection of Short Stories From Lost Russian Writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

“Autobiography of a Corpse” is the third collection of short stories by the late Russian writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky to be published in the U.S.

Krzhizhanovsky’s stories are surreal and often existential. A favorite of mine from an earlier collection, the wonderfully titled “Memories of the Future,” is about a man who is given a potion that, when it’s spread around his tiny studio apartment, makes the room grow. He becomes lost in the immense darkness.

Only nine of his stories were published in Russia during Krzhizhanovsky’s lifetime. His stories did not overtly challenge communism, but were subtle and subversive.

There’s a review of the new collection in today’s New York Times.

Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Moved To Siberian Prison


Russian officials have revealed the location of imprisoned Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in a statement released Tuesday by Russia’s human rights ombudsmen Vladimir Lukin.

The statement said Tolokonnikova will be transferred to a prison colony in the Siberian province of Krasnoyarsk. She is already there.

“Tolokonnikova has arrived in the Krasnoyarsk region, where she will be serving a part of her term,” the Interfax news agency quoted Lukin as saying. “I have been told that, according to her wishes, she has been placed [in the penal colony’s] medical ward.”

As previously reported, Tolokonnikova’s husband Peter Verzilov told Rolling Stone on November 6 that he believed his wife was headed for Penal Colony 50, near the town of Nizhny Ingash, which is 190 miles from the city of Krasnoyarsk. This prison is in a much more remote location than Penal Colony No 14 in Mordovia, where Tolokonnikova was previously held. It is about 2600 miles from Moscow. Prison management havem thus far, not confirmed that Tolokonnikova is in Penal Colony No. 50.

Lukin said that Tolokonnikova has ended her prison strike, and that new prisoners are placed in quarantine for 10 days on arrival and she will be able to see her husband and lawyers within the week.

It has been more than three weeks since Tolokonnikova’s family or lawyers have been in contact with her.

Pussy Riot Member Moved To New Prison (#3)


Yesterday, Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s family told the press that she had disappeared. Today the Russian prison service told Interfax news agency that Tolokonnikova has been moved to another prison. This is the third prison that the Pussy Riot member has been in.

The Federal Penitentiary Service also said that Tolokonnikova’s family would be notified within ten days of her arrival at the new prison, per “regulations.”

For more on this story, head to The Guardian.

For the back story. do a search for Pussy Riot on this blog and you can check out my many previous posts.

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Has Vanished


After being moved to Penal Colony No. 2 in the town of Alatyr, in the Russian republic of Chuvashia, ten days ago, Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova was apparently moved to an undisclosed location, members of Tolokonnikova’s family said today (Friday, Nov. 1, 2013).

“No one knows anything,” her father, Andrei Tolokonnikov, told Buzzfeed in a phone interview from Moscow. “There’s no proof she’s alive, we don’t know the state of her health. Is she sick? Has she been beaten?”

Tolokonikov’s husband Petya Verzilov said isolating his wife was a way for Russian authorities to punish her for speaking out.

“They want to cut her off from the outside world,” Verzilov said. “This is basically the only way they have to punish Nadya — ‘let’s cut her off from the outside world.’”

For more of the story, head to Buzzfeed.