Members of the punk band Pussy Riot (AP/Bebeto Matthews)

Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina launch prisoners' rights organization

"As long as ... prisoners' rights' violation take place ... there will be a need for our organization"

Katie McDonough
March 14, 2014 11:53PM (UTC)

Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina have launched a prisoners' rights organization called Zona Prava ("Law Zone").

Since being released from prison last year, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have been vocal about their experiences while incarcerated and critical of abuses within the prison system. As one of its first actions, the organization established a hotline for people who are incarcerated and their family members to report abuse or request legal counsel.


Vladimir Rubashny, a former prison services psychologist, will head the organization, which will be based within a complex of penal colonies in Russia's Republic of Mordovia. "They can beat you or finally beat you to death, and no one will know about it." Rubashny said, according to a report from Pitchfork. People incarcerated in Mordovia "are being turned into cattle... forced to become even worse."

"In our country, as long as cases of prisoners' rights' violation take place, we are sure that there will be a need for our organization," Tolokonnikova, who served most of her sentence in Mordovia, said.

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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