Freed Pussy Riot Member Determined to Fight

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MOSCOW -- Yekaterina Samutsevich, the Pussy Riot member freed two months ago, is determined to fight for the feminist punk band’s case while two other members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are serving their jail sentences.

"I don't think it will all be over soon," she said in a recent interview published by the Guardian. "It will only be over when [Tolokonnikova] and [Alyokhina] get out."

Samutsevich was freed last October when a court of appeals overruled a previous decision, under which the three women were sentenced to two years in prison for the anti-Putin “punk prayer” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral last February. According to Samutsevich, who didn’t take part in the “punk prayer” because she was stopped by a security guard and was eventually given a suspended sentence, the three women didn’t have any chance at the trial, which she stressed was politically motivated.

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"The trial was built in such a way that we couldn't defend ourselves," she said. "They didn't listen to us. We could have sat downstairs, where you wait till you're taken to the courtroom, and not go in at all and everything would've gone the same way.”

Meanwhile, an appeal to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg is pending. Samutsevich also appealed against last month’s Moscow court’s ruling which labeled all Pussy Riot's videos as extremist. Samutsevich insisted on taking part in the hearings as “an interested party” but was refused.

Samutsevich, the only one of the known Pussy Riot members who has an art background, said she would like to continue with art. She admitted, however, that times must have changed since the band’s controversial performances that came to the limelight between the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012.

"I want to do art and continue what I was doing – but I can't say yet in what concrete form," she said, adding that there are still opportunities for protest and political art in today’s Russia.

"If you believe Putin has limitless power, against which it's impossible to do anything, then you get depressed," she said, “One needs to change one's thinking, you need to think, on the contrary, about fighting, about gathering strength for the struggle."

 

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