The rise of Wild Feminism and Pussy Riot
Lisa Gene Cox
“It’s important not to say to yourself, ‘Oh, it’s O.K.,’”
Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova (Russian: Наде́жда Андре́евна Толоко́нникова; born November 7, 1989),nicknamed “Nadya Tolokno” (Надя Толокно), is a Russian conceptual artist and political activist. She is a member of the anti-Putinist punk rock group Pussy Riot, and has a history of political activism with the controversial street art group Voina. On August 17, 2012, she was convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after a performance in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. On December 23, 2013, she was released early with another Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina under a newly passed amnesty bill dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution.
Tolokonnikova was recognized as a political prisoner by the Russian human rights group “Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners”. Amnesty International named her a prisoner of conscience due to “the severity of the response of the Russian authorities”.
If influential advisers to Mr. Trump continue to so loosely issue jail threats to journalists for doing their constitutionally protected work that’s a big change to the institution of the presidency in my book, as well as in the one the founders wrote.
Leading up to Ms. Tolokonnikova’s trial, Russian news reports carried suggestions that she and her bandmates were pawns of Hillary Clinton’s State Department or witches working with a global satanic conspiracy — perhaps linked to the one that was behind the Sept. 11 attacks, as lawyers for one of their offended accusers put it. This is what we now call “fake news.”
Pussy Riot became an international symbol of Mr. Putin’s crackdown on free speech; of how his regime uses falsehood and deflection to sow confusion and undermine critics.
Make America Great Again – Pussy Riot
Now that the political-media environment that we smugly thought to be “over there” seems to be arriving over here, Ms. Tolokonnikova has a message: “It’s important not to say to yourself, ‘Oh, it’s O.K.,’” she told me. “It’s important to remember that, for example, in Russia, for the first year of when Vladimir Putin came to power, everybody was thinking that it will be O.K.”
She pointed to Russian oligarchs who helped engineer Mr. Putin’s rise to power at the end of 1999 but didn’t appreciate the threat he posed to them until they found themselves under arrest, forced into exile or forced into giving up their businesses — especially if those businesses included independent media critical of Mr. Putin (see Berezovsky, Boris; Gusinsky, Vladimir).
Of course, the United States has checks, balances and traditions that presumably preclude anything like that from happening, she acknowledged as we sat comfortably in sunny Miami Beach while it played host to a celebration of free expression (Art Basel).
“It is a common phrase right now that ‘America has institutions,’” Ms. Tolokonnikova said. “It does. But a president has power to change institutions and a president moreover has power to change public perception of what is normal, which could lead to changing institutions.”
As if to make her point, later that day the informal Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski declared that The New York Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, “should be in jail.” In October, The Times published an article about leaked pages from Mr. Trump’s 1995 state tax returns.
If influential advisers to Mr. Trump continue to so loosely issue jail threats to journalists for doing their constitutionally protected work after Inauguration Day, well, that’s a big change to the institution of the presidency in my book, as well as in the one the founders wrote.
None of it is all that shocking to Ms. Tolokonnikova, who at 27 has seen this music video before.
She was planning a lecture that night urging artists to become more engaged and pick up where the politically conscious punk bands like the The Dead Kennedys left off — their messages largely lost in the music of corporate-label imitators who hardly said boo through the debates over two wars, the Great Recession and racially charged police shootings.