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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More