Pin It
Pussy Riot arrest
Via Instagram (@all_mary)

Pussy Riot members say they’ve been jailed for just ‘existing’

Just hours after being released following their June arrests, four of the activists are now back behind bars for ‘petty hooliganism’, public swearing, and arguing with a police officer

Pussy Riot says its members are being jailed just for “existing”, after four activists were locked up again hours after being released following their arrests in June.

Masha Alekhina, Sasha Sofiev, Ann Kuzminikh, and Veronika Nikulshina are all back behind bars after being charged with “petty hooliganism”, public swearing, and arguing with a police officer. 

As reported by Artnet News, Alekhina was re-arrested outside the detention centre she had just been released from, with police immediately escorting her into a police van and to a station – she faces another 15 days in jail. Alongside a photo and video of her re-arrest on Instagram, a representative for Alekhina said: “Groundhog Day, again 15-day arrest. In the 2SPP protocol, it said that (s)he was detained near the house for obscene language and resistance to the police. Actually (it was) at the exit from the detention centre, without explanation.”

Sofiev had 24 hours before her re-arrest, and is now serving 10 more days in jail, while Kuzminikh was out for two days before being jailed for another 10. Nikulshina is serving a second consecutive 15-day detention. Another member, Lucy Shtein, has been placed under curfew after spending 15 days in jail.

“Why all of us are being arrested? (sic)” the Russian political activist group wrote on Twitter last week (July 9). “We don’t know. At this point, simply for living. They catch us while we leave our house, while we swim in the river, or do nails. It’s not even required to protest to be arrested anymore. Apparently, we protest simply by existing.”

In another tweet, shared on Monday (July 12), Pussy Riot called for donations to “raise $11k for eight people who went thru arrests – it’ll cover legal fees, food, medicine”. The group added: “When your government is trying to kill you, only solidarity can save you.”

In February, the group shared a new track, “Rage”, which called for the release of Russia’s political prisoners. It arrived as protests swept the country, following the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on January 17, and just days after Alekhina was arrested during demonstrations. Its lyrics go: “We’re those who annoy you today / We’re getting stronger and it makes you angry.”

Watch a video of Alekhina’s recent arrest below, and donate to Pussy Riot here.