Arrested but not defeated: Pussy Riot climb jail cell walls after latest arrest

Arrested but not defeated: Pussy Riot climb jail cell walls after latest arrest

11 February 2020

Eight years after being handed a two-year prison term for their church-bound “Punk Prayer”, punk band Pussy Riot are still being targeted by Russian police.

The balaclava-clad activists and their supporters saw two (brief) arrests in the space of two days, with police detaining the artists for “extremism” and shooting “an illegal video” on 10 February, and breaking up a photoshoot the following day.

Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova posted a video of herself climbing her cell’s metal gate on social media as she waited to be released alongside 13 others. She described the video as a mock tutorial on “how to spend time in a police station when you’re detained for no reason.”

The band also used their time under arrest to raise money for shooting their latest video, raising £823 from donors in one day. According to Tolokonnikova, the disruption of the video shoot at St Petersburg’s Lenfilm had cost the band some £11,500.

The video, titled Rage, features 150 activists, such as Sasha Sofeev and Lolja Nordic, feminist Youtuber nixelpixel and drag queen Lorina Rey.

“What happened wasn’t rare or unusual. Nobody was surprised when the first couple of policemen showed up,” nixelpixel told The Calvert Journal. “As activists we are painfully aware of the reality of living in Russia and being constantly monitored by the state on what we do or say.”

“It was very important for me to support Nadya [Tolokonnikova] in the creation of this video because I’m sick and tired of the way everything is and I want to express it. Art shouldn’t be censored and I hope to be alive when something changes for the better around here,” nixelpixel added.

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