Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova joins Vice as new columnist

Tolokonnikova was jailed in 2012 for her performance in a Moscow Cathedral

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Pussy Riot founder and jailed activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has joined Vice as a new columnist, detailing her time in prison after she was arrested for performing inside a church.

Tolokonnikova’s arrest and subsequent imprisonment in 2012 shone a light on the increasingly repressive actions of the Russian government – and propelled her into the spotlight as one of the public faces of the Pussy Riot movement.

In her first column, the 25-year-old activist and mother of one writes being jailed is “a difficult, difficult experience. But we political prisoners only become stronger, braver, and more stubborn as a result of it. Why, then, do they ever try to keep us in prison?”

The biweekly column is expected to cover Russian news stories the nation’s state-run media ignore, as well as providing an insight into the life of a woman feted globally as a campaigner and activist.

Vice’s global head of content Alex Miller told The New York Times that the digital media platform was “hyped” to have regular contributions from a Pussy Riot member.

 

“They’ve been behind some of the most definitive moments of political and cultural cross-pollination of the 21st century,” he said in a statement.

Tolokonnikova was one of three women, including fellow activist Maria Alyokhina and witness Yekaterina Samutsevich, detained by Russian authorities following punk-band Pussy Riot’s performance inside a Moscow cathedral.

After a short trial – labelled a “show trial” by one lawyer – the women were sentenced to two years in a penal colony.

Tolokonnikova was released in 2013 and has continued to campaign against the Russian government’s crackdown on civil rights and liberties. She was arrested earlier this year for a peaceful two-person protest with Alyvokhina but, as she notes in her debut column, “It’s hard to know what’s illegal in Russia”.

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