Pussy Riot To Be Freed: Amnesty for Russian Punk Band, Greenpeace Protestors and Others

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are being freed under the amnesty bill being submitted by Vladimir Putin to the Duma, the Russian parliament, on Monday December 9, to mark the Russian constitution’s 20th anniversary on Thursday. Nadya’s husband Pyotr Verzilov confirmed the rumors to The Voice Project:

It’s from the Kremlin and official already, they will be freed. We do not know yet when this will happen, because it is unclear when the bill will be voted by the Duma and how fast it will be applied to prisons – could be from 2 weeks to 2 months until they are freed.

The Voice Project also reports that Nadya’s father Andrei has also been able to confirm this from “reliable sources.” Nadya was moved to Siberia in November after protesting conditions and going on a hunger strike at her previous penal colony in Morodovia. She is now hospitalized in a Siberian prison facility, Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1.

The BBC reports that Putin may also free the Greenpeace Arctic 30 campaigners currently on bail and facing trial on (reduced) charges of hooliganism, as well as some of the opposition activists involved in unrest in May 2012.

This all feels like a Putin move to make Russia seem less yucky-looking in the buildup to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Simone Baumann’s film Putin’s Game, documenting charges of threats, corruption, and environmental damage is screening throughout Europe. Pussy Riot jailed, Greenpeace activists facing trial, “gay propaganda” banned and LGBTQ beaten, Elton John (finally) speaking out about anti-gay discrimination in Russia. From the stage. While performing a concert in Moscow. Add in a boycott of Smirnoff vodka and Putin had to do something.

In a surprising move, NBC has named the New Yorker’s editor and a former Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post, David Remnick as a guest correspondent:

Remnick said NBC had guaranteed him editorial independence with his commentary, including such politically charged issues as gay rights and the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. “There is nothing in the world — and I know they don’t intend to hinder me in this way — where I would not be honest in my analysis,” Remnick said. “It would be a waste of everyone’s integrity and time if otherwise.”

Meanwhile, it could be a very happy new year for Pussy Riot, Greenpeace, and other jailed Russian activists.

Photo by Igor Mukhin, used under Creative Commons license

7 Responses to "Pussy Riot To Be Freed: Amnesty for Russian Punk Band, Greenpeace Protestors and Others"
Loo Hoo. | Tuesday December 10, 2013 04:24 pm 1

You’re right. It’s about the Olympics. Soon the anti-gay stance may be gone too.


JP Sottile | Tuesday December 10, 2013 05:03 pm 2

Remnick and a reference to Simone Baumann’s film Putin’s Game. All cylinders!


bigbrother | Tuesday December 10, 2013 05:17 pm 3

Good news. Like people being treated with dignity.


PCM | Tuesday December 10, 2013 06:04 pm 4

Doesn’t make up for Russia treating LGBTs like they treated Jews under the Tsars — or, come to think of it, under Soviet leadership — but it’s a step in the right direction.


Sharkbabe | Tuesday December 10, 2013 06:23 pm 5

This made my heart soar when I heard it today. (I had earlier heard that PR were definitely not on the amnesty list.) Anyway aside from PR, how many other excellent & completely nonviolent noncriminals (Greenpeace) stand to be let out of cages into which they were ridiculously put.

Most of my gay boy boards were excoriating Elton for even going near Russia, given the hideous gay pogrom there .. but damn, they and me are now giving big ups to him. IN YOUR FACE, PUTIN – YOU REALLY GONNA STAND BESIDE THIS MEDIEVAL CHURCH MURDERIOUS BULLSHIT, JUST FOR A POLITICAL NICKEL? SRSLY?

He’s still got the Olympics problem. Good.


nixonclinbushbama | Wednesday December 11, 2013 06:45 am 6

Good news. Thanks, Lisa.


potsdam602 | Wednesday December 11, 2013 04:59 pm 7

Amnesty before the Olympics. Good move. Glad they found that one Pussy Riot girl.


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