Monday, December 23, 2013


By now I'm sure you 've heard the big news.  Today  Maria Alyokhina (Masha) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Nadia) were released from prison camps in Russia as part of Vladimir Putin's "amnesty."   While the Amnesty was obviously more of a PR stunt for Putin than any actual attempt to correct injustice (especially in their case given they only had a few months left until their sentence was up), I am happy that they are finally out of jail.

A lot has been written already on today (and more will likely unfold with time), I do feel its say to say that whatever Putin and the ROC thought would happen to Masha and Nadia while in prison has backfired.  Instead of breaking them, they left prison even more opposed to Putin and with plans to become human rights activists with a focus on prisoners rights.  While it can be assumed that the powers that be felt that Pussy Riot's memory would disappear once locked up, the International pressure from people from musicians to human rights organizations meant that the machinations of Russia's prison system ended up getting some exposure that wouldn't have happened if Pussy Riot had been given a fine (which before then was the precedent in terms of penalties) or if they'd let the group's Punk Prayer slide.

As Nadia and Masha begin the plans for future programs and connect with the people around them, it's important to realize the story isn't over.  As the story unfolds it will be interesting to see how the work these two ladies do will change the world around them, both in the big picture sense and in how things hope to be run.  In the meantime they plan to fight for their acquittal (which, if achieved, would reverse the injustice that happened when they were convicted and sent to prison in the first place.).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


This news has been circulating around the internet but since the details have been a little uncertain, I decided to wait until news was certain.  However, now it can be told.  A proposed amnesty bill has been approved by the Russian that will either cease legal proceedings or release from prison many nonviolent offenders, including those convicted of hooliganism.  A final version that would extend amnesty to those facign trail who have not yet been convicted was approved unanimously today.

While there had been conflicting reports on whether this would apply to them, apparently the imprisoned members of Pussy Riot (Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova) will be released from prison under this amnesty, as well as the Greenpeace arctic 30 (who were awaiting trail on hooliganism charges for an arrest at an Arctic drilling protest). 

While the government has six months to implement the Amnesty, some sources have suggested that Nadia and Maria might be released tomorrow or by the end of the week (I'm cautiously optimistic on this and hope this is the case).  We will let you know when they're released.