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 One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs