Four Members of the Pussy Riot Art Collective Have Been Jailed by Russian Officials

They have reportedly been charged with public swearing and arguing with a police officer.

Pussy Riot's Lucy Shtein being detained by Russian police. Photo courtesy of Pussy Riot.
Pussy Riot's Lucy Shtein being detained by Russian police. Photo courtesy of Pussy Riot.

Russian political activist and performance art group Pussy Riot is again facing jail time, with members Masha Alekhina, Sasha Sofiev, Ann Kuzminikh, and Veronika Nikulshina all currently behind bars.

When Alekhina was released from police custody after an initial stint in detention last week, police greeted her outside the detention center, escorting her directly into a police van and to a police station. She faces another 15 days in jail, and has shared video of the second arrest on social media.

Comparatively lucky, Sofiev had a full 24 hours between her release and a new arrest, and is now serving 10 days more. Kuzminikh was out for two days before being hit with another 10-day detention, and Nikulshina is serving a second consecutive 15-day term.

Another member, Lucy Shtein, is under curfew after being released from jail after 15 days, and cannot leave her house between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Alekhina and Shtein, who are a couple, each face up to two-year sentences, a representative for the collective told Artnet News in an email. The initial arrests were in June, according to the Moscow Times.

The charges against Pussy Riot members have reportedly included “petty hooliganism,” public swearing, and arguing with a police officer.

“It’s not even required to protest to be arrested anymore,” Pussy Riot wrote on Twitter. “Apparently, we protest simply by existing.”

“Everyone asks what’s going on and what they want from us,” Shtein wrote on Instagram. “Honestly, we have no idea.”

“Pussy Riot members think that the government’s goal is to silence everyone ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections on September 19, 2021,” the representative said.

Alekhina, Shtein, and fellow collective member Viktoria Naraxsa were among those arrested at protests against the imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in January. Later that month, Pussy Riot released a protest anthem, “Rage,” calling for the release of all political prisoners in Russia.

Nikulshina was also arrested in May to “prevent possible provocations” at a dress rehearsal for a military parade making the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II.


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