News / Europe

Amnestied Members of Pussy Riot Speak Out

Two members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) and Maria Alyokhina (L), answer journalists' questions during their news conference in Moscow on December 27, 2013.
Two members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) and Maria Alyokhina (L), answer journalists' questions during their news conference in Moscow on December 27, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
— The two members of Russia’s all-female punk rock band Pussy Riot, who  were granted amnesty last week, are lashing out at Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At a press conference Friday, newly released band members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolikonnikova immediately launched into sharp criticism of Russia’s strong-arm leader.

Tolikonnikova says this week's release was a public relations stunt ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi -- a pet project of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s.  She also encouraged others to boycott the games.

Alyokhina criticized Putin’s relationship with the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, saying that it played a role in their conviction
 in 2012.

 The two were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.  On the altar of the country's most prominent Orthodox Cathedral, they called on the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from Putin.  They were each sentenced to two years in prison.

Tolokonnikova says the two will not let their time behind bars deter them from working for an improved civil society. They say they want to use their experiences to help others who are behind bars by working to reform Russia’s notoriously bad prison system.

She says the band members' ultimate goal is solidarity, a developed civil society and the ability to help one another. She says the band saw the need for reform while in prison and considers their experiences as a "real miracle," and they are very grateful to all those who supported them.

Tolokonnikova went on to say that it would be great if former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky -- who was pardoned and released just days before the women -- would work with them to try and fix the system.

She says the band members consider Khodorkovsky an important and very strong person with an unbelievable personality. She noted that his prison experience was much longer and much tougher than theirs. She explains that the sort of cooperation she is talking about would be mainly conceptual, focusing on an exchange of ideas.

This month's wave of Russian prisoner releases has also included a number of Greenpeace activists arrested over an Arctic protest action.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid