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Pussy Riot Veronika Nikulshina
courtesy of Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot’s Veronika Nikulshina arrested again, with little explanation

The activist and World Cup protester believes she’s being targeted by Russian police

For the second time in a month, Nika Nikulshina – a member of Pussy Riot, and activist who took part in the group’s World Cup protest – has been arrested by Moscow police. Nikulshina has been detained for at least seven hours by authorities, who detained her and nine others while they were in a friend’s home.

According to release provided by Pussy Riot, the police said Nikulshina was being questioned over an incident where “a group of young people damaged a piece of government property”. The Russian punk collective has called these claims “absurd”, and say no official charges have been filed.  

“The police does not let Pussy Riot's lawyer see the detainees. They don't let the relatives give them food, although it is allowed by Russian law,” the group said in a statement. “While being detained, Nika started to feel sick, and the police had to call an ambulance for her.”

Back in July, Nikulshina was one of four Pussy Riot members who stormed the World Cup final pitch in police uniform, in protest against state control, police brutality, and the detainment of other activists. The protesters received 15-day sentences, as well as a three-year ban from sporting events in Russia. In the September following their action, participant Peter Verzilov was hospitalised after a suspected poisoning.

Last month, Nikulshina was arrested while on her way to a theatre awards ceremony in Moscow, where she had been nominated for an experimental, political show. The group claimed she had been detained temporarily to keep her away from the event, where Russian authorities and politicians were attending.

“It might be the Kremlin’s revenge for the action,” says Pussy Riot of Nikulshina’s continued detainment.

Nikulshina will reportedly be detained by police overnight. Pussy Riot fears she will remain in police custody during the Russian holidays, from May 9-12.

This story will be updated when we hear from Pussy Riot about Nikulshina.

UPDATE: Since Nikulshina’s initial arrest, her friend and ally Alexandra Albova was detained with her boyfriend Ilya by police upon leaving their apartment May 9, according to information provided by Pussy Riot to Dazed. They were brought to the police station with no charges filed – according to Pussy Riot, the officers from the Central Moscow police unit were primarily asking question about Nikulshina’s activities. Albova and her boyfriend have since been freed. Nikulshina and the four other detained persons have also been freed from custody.