Pussy Riot Member Nadya Tolokonnikova Has Been Arrested in Russia

<> attends the re:publica conference on May 5, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The conference revolves around digital culture and society. The three founding members of the group Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison in 2012 after they staged an anti-Vladimir Putin protest at a church in Moscow, but were released prior to serving their sentences in their entirety. The group has appealed to erase its members' criminal records, but those efforts have so far not been successful.

Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova has been arrested in Moscow after staging a protest in support of female prisoners. Dressed in prison uniforms, on Friday, Tolokonnikova and fellow activist Katya Nenasheva laid out strips of white, blue, and red fabric — the colors of Russia’s flag — with the intention of stitching them together to spell the phrase “Prison Camp Russia.” Their demonstration was interrupted when police officers intervened and dragged Tolokonnikova and Nenasheva away in the back of a police van. Consequence of Sound has photos of the arrest.

Prior to their protest, Tolokonnikova described the purpose of this demonstration in a statement entitled “Don’t Be Afraid.”

For 30 days the activist Katherine Nenasheva will be living her regular life wearing a prison robe of a female convict. She goes to exams, takes meetings, goes to the movies, gets groceries, goes out – she continues her daily life.

June 12 is the 18th day of Katherine Nenasheva’s action and also Russia Day – an important holiday in Russia that celebrates our flag and Constitution. On this day I am joining Katherine to sew a huge Russian flag in the same prison uniform that I wore during my time in the prison camps.

We will sew the Russian flag on Bolotnaya square, the square that became the starting point for many years in prison for dozens of activists who went out to protest Putin’s regime in May 2012. So here we are, on this square, and we will sew the sign “PRISON CAMP RUSSIA” to the face of the Russian flag on Russia Day.

Tolokonnikova and Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina famously served two years in prison in Siberia after staging a protest at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral in 2012. They were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” Since Tolokonnikova’s release, she’s remained a vocal opponent of the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin and continues to stage protests, sometimes resulting in arrest.

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