Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pyotr Verzilov, Pussy Riot's Man On The Outside

August 22, 2012 - If you have not heard of the all-women Russian punk rock band called "Pussy Riot" by now, you're probably living in a cave. The 10-woman group has been performing political street theater for some time now, but three were recently sentenced to two years in prison.  

On February 21, 2012 five of the Pussy Rioters performed song (a "punk prayer") in Moscow's Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ Savior. They asked the Virgin Mary to "drive away Putin."
Pyotr Verzilov: Photo source Opinionblog.ru
Two members of Pussy Riot Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23 (also known as also known as Nadya Tolokno) and Maria Alekhina, 24 — were arrested on March 3 and charged with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."

It was no accident that Pussy Riot chose the eve of Russia's March 4th presidential election for their "punk prayer" performance. Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, was arrested on March 15. The three women were ultimately found guilty and sentenced to two years each on August 17. Two of the women who performed at the Orthodox Cathedral are still at large.

There is much more to Pussy Riot, of course, than that one performance and prison sentence. When formed, the "feminist collective" membership was to be kept secret. That's been blown, of course, and the Russian authorities are currently trying to hunt down the other women of Pussy Riot. They will have a difficult time, however. Even if they catch and imprison all of the seven at-large women, they will still have this guy to contend with: Pyotr Verzilov. He is married to Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who is now in a Russian prison.

Pyotr, like his wife, has been very active in the anti-Putin pro-democracy movement in Russia.

In this video, Pyotr Verzilov spoke to the Oslo Freedom Forum, which took place on May 7, 8 and 9, 2012. 

Pyotr, fluent in English and very articulate, spoke to an audience about "several provocative and politically-charged artistic performances by the Voina Group and the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot."

"On March 3, 2012, Verzilov’s wife Tolokonnikova and the other members of Pussy Riot were arrested by police and accused of performing the protest song, called “Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin," in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina remain in custody, charged with “aggravated hooliganism," a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison. A judge of Moscow’s Tagansky Court refused a request to release the trio on bail, and extended custody until June 24, 2012. Amnesty International declared Verzilov’s wife and Alyokhina prisoners of conscience and called for their immediate and unconditional release."  ~ Oslo Freedom Forum website

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