Final Pussy Riot Member Freed From Russian Prison

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
 

MOSCOW -- The second Pussy Riot member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, has been freed from prison in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region, following the release of her bandmate Maria Alyokhina earlier today.

"Nothing has changed in me," she told reporters who were waiting for her in front of a prison hospital. "I've become stronger, more resilient. I have more determination in me."

STORY: Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina Released From Prison

A video of her statement was aired by the Russian oppositionist station Dozhd.

She added that she and Alyokhina have an idea for a human rights organization focused on protecting inmates' rights. Alyokhina, released from a prison in the central Russian Nizhny Novgorod region earlier on Monday, is reportedly on her way to Krasnoyarsk to meet with Tolokonnikova.

According to Tolokonnikova, she will be working towards punishment of prison authorities in the central Russian region of Mordovia, where she served part of her sentence and went on a hunger strike protesting the dismal conditions inside.

"I would very much like to work on achieving dismissal of [Mordovia's prison authority general Oleg] Simchenkov," she said. "I will fight to make sure that irregularities in that prison are recognized."

Talking to reporters, Tolokonnikova said that her release could be linked to Russian authorities' attempts to improve the country's image as the Sochi Winter Olympics approach, but that is not enough and there are more people who need to be released. "I call for boycotting [the Olympics]," she said.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina served two-year sentences for the anti-Putin "punk prayer" at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012 and were expected to be released in April 2014. However, under an amnesty bill enacted last week, they qualified for early release as those who committed non-violent crimes and are mothers of small children.

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