Pussy Riot Singers Released From Prison After Two Years

Mon, December 23, 2013 10:03am EDT by 5 Comments
Pussy Riot Maria and Nadezhda Free
Landov

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were released from prison on Dec. 23, after spending two long years there for protesting Vladimir Putin’s regime at a cathedral. Now, the band is slamming the amnesty law that freed them as a PR stunt from the Kremlin to improve Russian relations before the Winter Olympics. Find out why below!

The world was outraged when Pussy Riot‘s Maria Alyokhina, 25, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24 — along with bandmate Yekaterina Samutsevich, 31 — were thrown in prison in 2012 for protesting Vladimir Putin‘s oppressive regime in a Russian cathedral. Now the two young moms are free, but they’re not keeping quiet about the shocking conditions they faced in prison, or their thoughts on the law that freed them.

Pussy Riot Freed: The Real Reason Behind Their Release

Maria, Nadezhda, and Yekaterina — who was released in October of 2012 when her case was overturned — received international publicity when they were jailed for hooliganism “motivated by religious hatred” back in March of 2012. The bandmates, who openly oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin, were arrested after they performed a “punk prayer” at a Russian Orthodox cathedral back in 2012, when Putin was still Prime Minister.

Now Maria and Nadezhda have been released months early, but they’re not happy — Maria told the New York Times that their release was all a stunt.

“I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics — particularly for the Western Europeans,” she said, referring to the Winter Games Russia is set to host in February. “But I don’t consider this humane or merciful.”

According to Maria, Putin’s new amnesty law, which was adopted on Dec. 19, is “a lie.” Russia’s human rights record under Putin has been abysmal, with the Pussy Riot case serving as a testimony to a growing lack of freedom of speech. This pre-Olympics move is trying to disguise that — Putin will also grant clemency to Russia’s most famous prisoner, Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, as well as defendants accused of crimes in connection with an antigovernment protest that turned violent after Putin’s re-election.

Maria Alyokhina: ‘We Didn’t Ask For Any Pardon’

Maria has been an outspoken opponent of Putin’s regime for years, and she’s furious that her slightly early release might make the controversial leader look better. “We didn’t ask for any pardon,” she said. “I would have sat here until the end of my sentence because I don’t need mercy from Putin.”

These statements are especially strong given the shocking prison conditions Nadezhda described in a letter to the Russian news site Lenta, which was later translated into English. The young mom says that she was forced to work 16-17 hours a day in “slave labor” like conditions, where women were beaten “or worse” for not completing their duties.

This all sounds so horrible, and HollywoodLife.com wishes the best to Maria, Nadezhda, and their families during this difficult time. What do you think, HollywoodLifers?

– Shaunna Murphy

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