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Pussy Riot give in-prison interview

on September 24, 2012, 1:35pm

pussy riot e1345204931409 Pussy Riot give in prison interview

Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova and Maria “Masha” Alyokhina, two of the imprisoned members of Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot, recently participated in an interview with GQ. The magazine corresponded with the women by slipping in questions with their lawyers. Yekaterina “Katya” Samutsevich, the third imprisoned member, had her answers confiscated. Some of the more noteworthy excerpts from the interview are posted below.

Masha addressed a Russian newspaper report claiming that the women are receiving VIP treatment in prison:

They have small, medium, and large cells here. We’re in three different small ones. Only the large cells have in-room showers; we get showers once a week. After 6 a.m., you’re not allowed to sleep under a blanket. Theoretically, until lights-out at 10 p.m., you’re not allowed to sleep at all, but in practice you can lie on top of the blanket and cover yourself with your coat. Nobody can explain why; the only answer you hear to any question is “That’s the rule” and “We keep to a regimen here.” Every day there’s an hour-long walk in a “yard,” which is a concrete box with two benches and a sliver of sky between a cement wall and a plastic roof. It’s all “Hug the wall” this and “Hands behind your back” that. They search our cells regularly and confiscate our drawings and notes. Why? “The rules.” Pretty much the only news we get is from federal TV channels. Only now do I realize the sheer amount of lies and censorship there. When you have the Internet, you don’t feel it as sharply. But once a week our lawyers bring us different news, words of support, and that helps a lot.

Nadya discussed the group’s controversial church performance and whether it was the main reason the women were arrested:

To be frank, we tried not to think about the possible arrests at all. If you start thinking about this sort of thing, you can’t do anything political. Plus, we couldn’t even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us. Sure, Tsentr E tried to intimidate us by tailing us constantly. But unlike Putin, we’re notchickenshit—so we didn’t stop performing. The church performance was a perfect opportunity for Putin’s apparatchiks to claim that our motives were religious intolerance and not political protest. This way our persecution could be framed as a righteous burning of blasphemers, as opposed to just stifling free speech.

Finally, Nadya discussed the support they received from Western musicians:

I still can’t shake the feeling that I’ve spent the last six months acting in a big-budget movie. The amount of Western support that we got is a miracle. I believe that if Russia had independent national media, our performance would be better understood at home as well. Right now we’re in hell here. It’s hard living in a place where everyone can hate you because of something they heard on TV. That’s why every gesture of support is so important and so much appreciated.

Click here to read the full interview.

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