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Arts and Culture

Pussy Riot Duo Strikes Back Against Kremlin With Lawsuit

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Posted on Jul 29, 2014

  Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, left, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova at the Bringing Human Rights Home concert in February in New York. Shutterstock

They’re known for their guerrilla tactics and public displays of punk protest, but now two members of the Pussy Riot collective, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, are using the tools of the system to their advantage.

In short, they’re suing the Russian government.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova drew international attention and support when they were arrested and incarcerated for 21 months for staging a musical anti-Putin demonstration in a Moscow cathedral in February 2012. Though President Vladimir Putin quipped that the pair, who became even more prominent on the world stage after their release late last year, “got what they asked for,” the two Rioters clearly beg to differ and are making their case through legal channels, the BBC reported Tuesday:

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova say their prosecutions amounted to torture.

They have filed a case at the European Court of Human Rights against Russia, seeking compensation.

The pair are demanding 120,000 euros (£95,000) each in damages, plus 10,000 euros (£8,000) court costs.

It’s probably safe to say that the Putin administration will not be eager to pony up the cash for their troubles. Tolokonnikov’s dad, Andrey, thinks the plaintiffs lowballed the Kremlin and told the Russian paper Moskovskiy Komsomolets that they should have asked for “250m euros, not 250,000 euros,” the BBC also relayed.

Meanwhile, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina received some high praise, as well as a few thousand euro in cash, in the form of the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought, awarded to “people who in their thought and deeds courageously accept the challenge of public intervention.” The awarding organization, composed of the City of Bremen and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, split the 2014 laurels between the Pussy Riot duo and Ukrainian poet, novelist and theater director Jury Andruchowytsch.

—Posted by Kasia Anderson


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