DCSIMG

Pussy rioters: ‘No regrets over Putin prayer’

  • by VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV
 

THE jailed members of the Pussy Riot feminist band have said they feel no regrets about the “punk prayer” against president Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral that landed them behind bars for two years.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina offered a stoic description of their harsh prison conditions in interviews published yesterday in the Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

Tolokonnikova, who works at a prison sewing machine, was quoted as saying she has had her fingers punctured by the needle but has picked up speed and can now meet her quota of making lining for 320 jackets a day.

Like other prisoners, she bathes once a week and washes in cold water the rest of the time.

“I am not paying much attention to living conditions,” she said. “I’m ascetic, and living conditions matter little for me.”

Three Pussy Riot members were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in August after they prayed to the Virgin Mary for deliverance from Mr Putin at Christ the Saviour Cathedral. One of them, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was later released on appeal, but Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were sent to gulags last autumn.

Tolokonnikova said their protest was not aimed at religion. “It was an ironic, cheerful and bold act, a political outcry, so to speak,” she said.

She said that she has grown tired of the stunt that made the band members global celebrities and drawn protests around the world against Russia’s intolerance of dissent. “It’s just impossible to think about your work for so long, you would want to switch to other works and forget about the previous one,” she said.

Asked whether she wants to say something to Mr Putin, she answered: “No, honestly speaking, for me he doesn’t exist. He is just a blank spot for me.”

Alekhina, who is in a different gulag, said she was held in solitary for 90 days in November after receiving threats from fellow inmates she suspects were instigated by prison authorities. “They told me that I would be done with if I stay in that unit,” she said.

 
 
 

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