Pin It
Nika of Pussy Riot
via Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot World Cup protester arrested on her way to receive an award

Nika participated in the activist group’s ‘The Police Enter the Game’ performance, running onto the field during the 2018 World Cup final

Pussy Riot collective member Veronika Nikulshina was arrested by police while on her way to an awards ceremony in Moscow yesterday (April 16). Nikulshina – also known as Nika – was arrested alongside Alexey Yershov and Maxim Karnaukhov as they made their way to the Golden Mask awards in the Bolshoi theatre, Moscow. 

The trio was nominated for their experimental theatre show Poe.Tri, a production of Yershov and Karnaukhov’s Theater to Go company. 

Nika took part in the activist group’s 2018 World Cup protest, ‘The Police Enter the Game’. Alongside other activists, she stormed the France vs Croatia pitch in police uniform, demonstrating against human rights abuses and corrupt authorities in Russia. Nika, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova, and Pyotr Verzilov were jailed for 15 days. Members of the group were released and detained again multiple times. Verzilov was hospitalised weeks after the protest with suspected poisoning, but fully recovered.

Speaking with Dazed, Pussy Riot gave more details of the trio’s arrest: “Right at the exit from their apartment Nika, Alexey and Maxim were arrested before going to the Golden Mask theatre awards at the Bolshoi theatre, the main theatre award in Russia, where all three were officially nominated and invited. Police said they need to take them in for a certain check up.” 

They have since been released – Pussy Riot tell Dazed that “no reasons” were officially given other than a “document check”. The group claims that, because the awards are attended by members of the state authority, Nika, Yershov, and Karnaukhov were kept away.

Other members of the group have been touring, playing in Argentina for the first time and declaring their support for the local movement to decriminalise abortion.