Prison Riot: Rebel Russian Band Members Speak Out from Behind Bars

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Mikhail Metzel / FILE / AP

Members of Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot — from left: Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova — in a courtroom in Moscow on Aug. 17, 2012, the day they were given guilty verdicts

It seems it will take more than a two-year prison sentence to silence the rebellious members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot.

The three Russian women — given guilty verdicts on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred on Aug. 17, after they performed an anti-Kremlin song and dance in Moscow’s revered Orthodox cathedral — remain defiant even as they languish in jail.

(MORE: Pussy Riot Trial Unleashes Putin’s Secret Weapon: The Orthodox Faithful)

“Our verdict shows just how scared Putin’s regime is of anyone who can undermine its legitimacy,” said band member Yekaterina Samutsevich, in response to written questions posed by the Guardian newspaper, via her lawyer. “Of course, we didn’t expect a not-guilty verdict,” she added. “To expect justice from a court that ignores all your objections is of course impossible. So we weren’t shocked and, to the dismay of our enemies, didn’t faint when we got the verdict.”

It seems, though, that the verdict spooked other band members. The Associated Press reports that two members of Pussy Riot not charged in the initial incident fled Russia over the weekend to avoid prosecution. Moscow police reportedly had difficulty identifying all the participants in the balaclava-clad February protest and have only arrested the three women. But days after their conviction, cops cautioned that they were still searching for the other renegades — clearly spooking the two who fled.

Pussy Riot took to Twitter to announce the departures, while simultaneously mentioning the group is “recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new protest actions.”

MORE: The Priest Who Beat Pussy Riot: The Orthodox Point Man with the Kremlin


wen putin gets a set of blue-balls for a week or 2, he will be lookin at the bubushka down the hallway.  only that ole hag is a guy!? free pussie riot! a day in the life of pussie riot!? sign the song,write the book, make the movie. watch michele walk in on this one?? this is right were she belongs!


What's wrong with the world- when Pussy Riot is behind bars and people like the Reddy Brothers in Karnataka India, Putin and Akin are elected representatives? A case study in all that's rotten in the world. 

Hurrah for Pussy Riot! 


 In Russian, there's such an idiom as "to eat a siskin" (siskin is a type of a song bird, similar to a canary).

 It is derived from a satirical "fairy tale" authored by Saltykov-Shchedrin, where a bear (representing executive branch), who was "sent" to "rule" a particular territory, eats a siskin by accident as his first act in power.

 As a result, his authority is compromised, because everyone views his actions as clearly disproportionate use of power, either as a result of incompetence or desperation.

 So, in this case, Mr. Putin ate a very big, fat, plumpy siskin.

Matthew Johnson
Matthew Johnson

Gary Kasparov is a much more effective member of the opposition to Putin. He gets arrested from time to time too, but since he is so much more clever than these three, he gets released in a few hours each time. But these three had to make blasphemy part of the political discourse, so off to prison they go.


 Actually, no.

 Garry Kasparov is routinely treated in Russia similar to Ralph Nader in US: an outspoken loon who has little chance of gaining popular support even for a seat at the condo board.

 P*ssy Riot, surprisingly, resonated. Which is very strange, given the fact that their "punk prayer" was largely a protest against prohibition of gay parades - hardly a popular issue in Russia - but it happened.

 Again, I'm not saying that any of the three ladies arrested will make an efficient public politician. But they managed to become, at the very least, public activists.