Russia Frees Jailed Member of Pussy Riot

Forty seconds of their “Punk Prayer” landed Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina in jail for about two years on specious charges of “hooliganism.”  But both women are now out of custody.  Alyokhina walked out of a prison in Nizhny Novgorod while Tolokonnikova (who has landed immigrant status in Canada) was released from her hell hole in Siberia.  All members of the band are now free.

Both of them were released under an amnesty bill signed by Vladimir Putin, although everyone is quick (and correct) to point out that this is nothing but a PR stunt as Russia heads towards hosting the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

Tolokonnikova won’t but shut up, either.  When she left the prison hospital in Krasnoyarsk, she shouted “Russia without Putin” and promised that they band would reunite for another show before the Olympics. She also claims that had this been able to refuse the amnesty, she would have. Hey, take the pardon, Barrabas, and enjoy Christmas.

Still, you have to admire her spunk.  This is a joint statement from the women.

“We all recognize that the whole amnesty program is a PR move by Putin, likely of course a bit of image clean up prior to the Olympics, said Hunter Heaney, Executive Director of The Voice Project, an organization that has worked behind the scenes for the women’s release and worked together with family members to keep the Pussy Riot women safe and monitored while they were in the camps, raising over $120,000 for the support efforts. “Amnesty being “granted” to two women put in prison for a 40 second song performance, who would have been released in a mere couple of months, after missing nearly two years with their young children and loved ones is, of course, absurd. Last minute amnesty does not make up for that or the rule of law denied to so many others by the Putin regime and our thoughts are with them today. However, we are so happy that Nadya and Masha are safe, have come through this ordeal healthy and strong, and two young mothers will now be getting to see their children. A very large community of activists and donors around the world have worked hard to help to see that happen.”

Further details can be found at The Voice Project.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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