Pussy Riot's Alyokhina: 'I Was Always Free'

Punk rocker talks frankly about prison, amnesty, future

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 25, 2013 8:25 AM CST

(Newser) – If Vladimir Putin expected the pardoned members of Pussy Riot to fall over in thanks, well, hopefully Santa brought him some oxygen so he can keep holding his breath. Newly free Maria Alyokhina sat down for a Q&A with Rolling Stone, and her answers are as defiant and frank as we've come to expect. Highlights:

  • On how it feels to be free: "You know, I was always free, because I felt free. It's very important to be free inside. You have the right to choose. Becoming conscious of that fact delivers a person."

  • On her amnesty: "If I had had any possibility of doing so, I definitely would have refused this amnesty. I don't need it. I'm not guilty, I'm not a criminal, I don't consider it mercy."
  • On the future of Pussy Riot: "I think it's best if we give more details when we appear together so there is no dissonance. We need to meet first. Everything needs to be talked about with Nadya. Whatever we do, will definitely be connected with that sort of action that we found effective. And ... I would say that if a person is connected with art, it's forever. It's impossible to stop."
  • On her life in prison: "I've been doing human rights [work], explaining to the women how they can solve their complaints themselves. And what's happened is that these women have decided to start taking up their problems with the administration themselves. This voice that has appeared here is so important. Because when a person in a Russian prison decides to start speaking, to start speaking the truth—they start to reject oppression."
For more from Alyokhina, check out the full interview.

Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot is escorted to a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 19, 2012.
Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot is escorted to a courtroom in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 19, 2012.   (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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