Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot (AP/Misha Japaridze)

Pussy Riot freed from prison

Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were released from prison Monday, but called Putin's amnesty a "PR move"

Katie McDonough
December 23, 2013 6:56PM (UTC)

Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were freed from prison Monday, but criticized President Vladimir Putin's amnesty deal as a "PR move" to assuage growing criticism of Russia's record on human rights in advance of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Putin's amnesty will not buy their silence, judging from statements both activists gave upon their release.


"[If] I had a chance to turn it down, I would have done it, no doubt about that," Alekhina told Russia news channel Dozhd. "This is not an amnesty. This is a hoax and a PR move."

As the Associated Press reports, Alekhina went on to point out that the amnesty deal impacts less than 10 percent of the prison population and a small fraction of women with children who are incarcerated.

Tolokonnikova told reporters that she and Alekhina will remain active in the human rights movement in Russia; she also called Putin's amnesty a media ploy.


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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Prison Reform Pussy Riot Russia

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