Pussy Riot's closing remarks

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Russian punk band Pussy Riot delivered scathing arguments as the trial concluded

By Sarah Amandolare
Published August 14, 2012 3:40PM (EDT)
Members of the Russian radical feminist group Pussy Riot stage a performance to support detained opposition activists.                    (Reuters/Denis Sinyakov)
Members of the Russian radical feminist group Pussy Riot stage a performance to support detained opposition activists. (Reuters/Denis Sinyakov)

Denied bail in July, lauded for their fearless fashion in August and now awaiting sentencing, the women of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been through a bewildering ordeal. Arrested in March after performing inside a Moscow church in February, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich face up to three years in prison for charges of hooliganism. On August 8, Tolokonnikova delivered lengthy closing arguments, available in full translation on Live Journal, along with courtroom video footage. Here are a few of her most compelling statements.

  • We were looking for authentic genuineness and simplicity and we found them in our punk performances. Passion, openness and naivety are superior to hypocrisy, cunning and a contrived decency that conceals crimes. The state’s leaders stand with saintly expressions in church, but their sins are far greater than ours. We’ve put on our political punk concerts because the Russian state system is dominated by rigidity, closedness and caste. Аnd the policies pursued serve only narrow corporate interests to the extent that even the air of Russia makes us ill.
  • We are absolutely not happy with... the use of coercive, strong-arm measures to handle social processes, a situation in which the most important political institutions are the disciplinary structures of the state - the security agencies, the army, the police, the special forces...Nor are we happy with the enforced civic passivity of the bulk of the population or the complete domination of executive structures over the legislature and judiciary.
  • I would like you to think carefully about the following reflection by Montaigne from his Essays written in the 16th century. He wrote: “You are holding your opinions in too high a regard if you burn people alive for them.”
  • At our punk concerts we used to shout as best we could about the iniquities of the authorities and now we’ve been robbed of our voice. This whole trial refuses to hear us and I mean hear us, which involves understanding and, moreover, thinking.





Sarah Amandolare

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Document Human Rights Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Punk Pussy Riot Russia Vladimir Putin