News / Europe

Russian Police Question Pussy Riot in Sochi

Activists Challenge Russian Authorities at Sochi Olympicsi
X
February 19, 2014 3:36 AM
Vladimir Putin’s carefully-controlled Winter Olympics are now running into unexpected, unscripted moments from protesters and activists, including members of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot. James Brooke reports from Sochi.
James Brooke
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s carefully controlled Winter Olympics are now running into unexpected, unscripted moments from protesters.

On Tuesday, sporting their colorful red, pink and yellow balaclavas, members of Russia’s most colorful protest group, Pussy Riot, walked out of a police station in Sochi and sang their latest anti-Putin song, named  "Putin Will Teach You to Love Your Motherland."

Band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova tweeted from a police van that she and her friends have been detained three times in three days, without even staging a protest.

Her tweets drew journalists who were here for the Winter Olympics. Two of Pussy Riot's members became international celebrities after they were released from a Russian jail in December. Two weeks ago, at an Amnesty International Concert in New York they were introduced by the American singer, Madonna.

She said, "It is my privilege and my honor, Ladies and Gentlemen, to introduce Masha and Nadya  from Pussy Riot. Ladies, please come to the stage. There they are. Can I get a 'Hell yeah!'? Can I get a 'Hell yeah!'?"

Then the Russian protesters began chanting "Russia will be free!"

The Pussy Riot women are not the only protesters in Sochi. A Russian environmentalist is on a hunger strike. And an Italian gay activist, Vladimir Luxuria, has been detained twice. She spoke Monday to reporters inside the Olympic Park.

He said, "If I stop wearing the colors of the rainbow, just because somebody took away a flag from me, that means that these people win. And I don't want to be guided in my life by fear, I want to be guided in my life by courage, the courage that I always had in my life."

Human rights activists fear that when the Olympics are over, the Kremlin will take off the kid gloves, said Salil Shety, secretary general of Amnesty International, two weeks ago in New York.

"We are very worried about what is going to happen after Sochi, once the cameras go off. So, we really need Pussy Riots and all the artists here to keep the pressure on the Russian government," Shetty said.

The Olympics close this Sunday night. And on Monday, thousands of foreign journalists start flying out of Russia.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Tommy from: USA
February 19, 2014 9:39 AM
As I understand it, people are being brutalized in Russia over their sexual orientation, apparently with either the indifference or the participation of the authorities. Peaceful and perhaps sometimes obnoxious protest is necessary. These are brave women who risk jail. It is a cowardly government that cannot stand for some of its people to sing an occasional protest song, or to love whom they choose (because, baby, they're born that way).

by: Abbie from: Burlington, vt
February 19, 2014 1:21 AM
Olympics should not be 'used' as a forum for protesting. Agree, seems like Pussy Riot wants attention and it's appalling. Even their name is appalling.

by: Mike Kernan from: Pittsburgh, PA
February 18, 2014 4:29 PM
Pussy Riot is getting a pass by the press despite their arrogant and anarchist activities. They actually broke into a church service, and started dancing and shouting obscenities. Of course they got arrested! But because their obscenities were anti-Putin, the Press is treating them like heroes. They disrupted a church service! They are arrogant and have no respect for anything. I don't care if they are anti-Hitler. They deserved the jailing they got. How can you ignore their arrogant tactics, and expect everyone else to be fooled by your one-sided journalism? No responsible civil authorities could allow this sort of behavior to go unpunished. At least, I hope not. You may not like Putin, but the Russian authorities were not wrong when they arrested Pussy Riot protesters.
In Response

by: James Kite
February 19, 2014 3:56 AM
"On February 21, 2012, as part of a protest movement against the re-election of Vladimir Putin, five women from the group entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. There was no church service in session at the time, and only a few people were in the cathedral"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot#Arrest_and_prosecution

As mentioned above, Pussy Riot did not disrupt a church service, at worse, they were guilty of trespass on private property.

Yes, they were dicks about it, but we are talking about civil disobedience, something the USA views as a required allowance which makes your comment some what odd. Was it disrespectful? Obviously yes, but then if disrespect is a crime, then I think everyone would be in prison.
In Response

by: Paul Gerrard from: Adelaide, Australia
February 19, 2014 1:42 AM
I wonder if Jesus should have been given a couple of years in jail for upsetting the money changers in the temple. Perhaps if he had been jailed at that time history would have been very different.
In Response

by: Alan from: Knysna, South Africa
February 19, 2014 1:33 AM
I absolutely agree with Mike . . .
In Response

by: Devils advocate from: Hell
February 19, 2014 12:41 AM
Then what would you have them do? Schedule a meeting to talk to Putin? You need to realize the corrupt force that is Putin and the kremlin. Russia's law makes it illegal for an individual to be gay, and the law is vague enough that anyone can be arrested by suspicion. Putin is the modern hitler to a much lesser degree. The coverage may be a bit dramatized, but the issues are very real, and pussy riot is garnering real interest in the issues. They've made the world care about the issue. They've done their job.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs