Pussy Riot released: a PR stunt of Olympic proportions

The last two incarcerated members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolonnikova, were yesterday released from prison as part of an amnesty granted to around 22,000 prisoners. Whilst their release is obviously good news for everyone concerned, it is more of a public relations stunt by Vladimir ‘Bonaparte’ Putin, ahead of the Winter Olympics in early 2014 - than it is clemency, or a relaxing of Putin’s regime.

Submitted by working class … on December 24, 2013

There have been 22,000 prisoners released from Russian jails this week, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Russian constitution. As well as the release of Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolonnikova, pardons have been granted to Mikhail Khordorkovsky, an oil gangster and Putin opponent, who had spent ten years in jail, and also to two dozen people convicted of protesting against Putin in 2012, and to the 30 Greenpeace members who had been charged with piracy earlier this year.

The Sochi winter Olympics are due to start in a matter of weeks, and Putin’s opportunist prison release programme is nothing more than a decoy to distract attention from Russia’s horrendous human rights record, and their recent so-called ‘anti-gay’ legislation.

When questioned about her release from prison, Maria Alekhina said to reporters that:

"I do not think it is a humanitarian act, I think it is a PR stunt. My attitude to the president has not changed. If I had chance to turn it down, I would have done, no doubt about that. This is not an amnesty; this is a hoax and a PR stunt.”

Tolonnikova, who had spent much of the last 12 months on hunger strike, and being ghosted around the Gulag system, said this upon her release:

"I have acquired a unique experience and it will be much easier for me to engage in human rights activities than before. I've matured and learned about the state from within, I've seen this small totalitarian machine as it is from the inside. Russia is built on a prison colony. That is why it is so important to change the prison system in order to change Russia.”

When questioned about her release being part of publicity ploy by Putin ahead of the winter Olympics, she said that:

“I'm calling for the boycott of the Olympic games because the current measures are totally insufficient ... As it stands, European countries can reconsider their participation in the Olympics. As for me, I'm calling for a boycott for honesty."

In an unusual move, many heads of state have declined invitations to attend the Olympic opening ceremony on the 7th February, but have stopped short of a boycott of their games. Many gay athletes and their teammates, from many countries, are said to be ‘considering their position’ regarding personal boycotts in protest against Russia’s stance on Gay rights.

Ekaterina Samutsevich, the third member of Pussy Riot, who had been released on appeal last year, said that:

“I support a boycott because I do not think at this stage that there is any other way to make our authorities see and understand because they keep ignoring the rights of their citizens, and at this stage there is no other way to effect change, because the authorities have taken hostage of the media, so perhaps a boycott can be a symbol of the criticism being voiced.”




10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by teh on December 29, 2013

Pussy Riot Members Want Khodorkovsky For President

The recently freed members of the performance art collective Pussy Riot say they still want Russian President Vladimir Putin out of power and would like to see him replaced by former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Also voice support again for prominent neo-facsist Alex Navalny, (who had Tolokonnikova's husband and fellow activist work for him during his failed run for Moscow Mayor):

They said they would like to work on the [civil society] project along with opposition figure Aleksei Navalny


10 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by par4 on December 31, 2013

Pussy Riot or Greenpeace calling anything a stunt is ridiculous. Staging stunts are their whole oeuvre.