Thursday, July 31, 2014


Russia

Pussy Riot's Tolokonnikova To Perform Prison Concerts

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova looks on as a petition for her early release from custody is heard at a court in the Mordovian town of Zubova Polyana in April.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova looks on as a petition for her early release from custody is heard at a court in the Mordovian town of Zubova Polyana in April.
By Claire Bigg
A "punk prayer" in Christ the Savior Cathedral it ain't.

But jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is preparing to take the stage again -- this time to perform for other inmates later this week at several Siberian prisons.

Tolokonnikova is serving a two-year sentence in the Krasnoyarsk region after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred last year for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's largest Russian Orthodox cathedral.

Her lawyer, Irina Khrunova, told the online television Dozhd TV on December 16 that Tolokonnikova's musical talents had earned her some recognition among local inmates.

"She told me over the phone that they would visit a few penitentiaries in the Krasnoyarsk Region with concerts on December 20-21. This is because there is some kind of music band at the hospital she is in that Tolokonnikova [has] very successfully integrated [with]. They will give New Year's concerts," Khrunova said.

March Release

Russian prison authorities on December 16 announced that Tolokonnikova will serve the remainder of her term at a prison hospital in Krasnoyarsk.

She is recovering from complications that arose during a hunger strike held earlier this year to protest what she described as appalling conditions and death threats by the administration at her previous prison in Mordovia.

She and fellow Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina are due to be released in early March.

In Focus: Children Still Coming To Grips With Mothers' Jailing

A spokeswoman for the local penitentiary authority, Yekaterina Brotsman, said Tolokonnikova had herself expressed her desire to stay at the hospital.

Brotsman confirmed that the young woman was scheduled to take part in prison concerts later this week.

She said Tolokonnikova sang, danced, and actively took part in cultural activities organized at her prison.

The upcoming jail concerts, however, will likely be a far cry from Pussy Riot's trademark punk performances, subversive lyrics, and garish balaclavas.

Brotsman stressed that the repertoire for the concerts had first been vetted by prison authorities and will include mostly rock ballads and pop songs.

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