Jailed Pussy Riot Band Member on Hunger Strike To Protest ‘Slave-Like’ Conditions

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 23 2013 7:09 PM

Jailed Pussy Riot Band Member on Hunger Strike to Protest "Slave-Like" Conditions

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the jailed members of the all-girl punk band 'Pussy Riot,' standing in the defendant's cage in a Russian court.

Photo by MAKSIM BLINOV/AFP/Getty Images

A jailed member of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot said she was going on hunger strike starting Monday to protest prisoner treatment in her Russian penal colony. In a letter, posted by the Guardian, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova writes: “I will not remain silent, resigned to watch as my fellow prisoners collapse under the strain of slavery-like conditions.”

The band Pussy Riot shot to global notoriety in 2011 for staging “punk protests” in brightly colored balaclavas in a Moscow cathedral, protesting the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In August 2012, Tolokonnikova was sentenced to two years in prison for the protest, along with two other members of the band.


Here's a video of the protest that landed the group in jail:

Tolokonnikova says inmates at the colony are forced to work up to 17 hours a day and get no more than four hours of sleep. Reuters describes the system used by prison officials at the colony, where senior inmates enforce order, as “reminiscent of Soviet-era Gulag forced labor camps.” Tolokonnikova and fellow band member Maria Alyokhina are scheduled to be released in March and a third band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed on appeal last year, according to Rolling Stone.


Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.