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Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova (Russian: Наде́жда Андре́евна Толоко́нникова, IPA: [nɐˈdʲeʐdə təlɐˈkonʲːɪkəvə]; born 7 November 1987),[1][2] nicknamed "Nadya Tolokno" (Надя Толокно), is a Russian conceptual artist and political activist. She was a member of the anarchist feminist group Pussy Riot, and has a history of political activism with the controversial street art group Voina. On 17 August 2012, she was convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" after a performance in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. On 23 December 2013, she was released early with another Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina under a newly passed amnesty bill dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian constitution.[3]

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova während einer Paneldisskusion auf der republica 2015-cropped.jpg
Tolokonnikova in May 2015
Native name
Надежда Андреевна Толоконникова
Born
Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova

(1987-11-07) 7 November 1987 (age 31)
ResidenceMoscow, Russia
NationalityRussian
Other namesNadya Tolokno (Надя Толокно)
EducationMoscow State University
OccupationStudent, Political Activist, Performance Artist
Years active2008–present
OrganizationVoina, Pussy Riot
Known forProvocative political protests; imprisonment for hooliganism
Criminal chargeHooliganism motivated by "religious hatred"
Criminal penalty2 years imprisonment
Criminal statusConvicted on 17 August 2012, released under amnesty on 23 December 2013
Spouse(s)Pyotr Verzilov (div.)
Children1
AwardsLennonOno Grant for Peace
Hannah Arendt Prize (shared with fellow band-mate Maria Alyokhina)
Websitehttps://zona.media/

Tolokonnikova was recognized as a political prisoner by the Russian human rights group Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.[4] Amnesty International named her a prisoner of conscience due to "the severity of the response of the Russian authorities".[5]

Early life and educationEdit

 
Tolokonnikova walking with Pyotr Verzilov (L.) in the June 2007 Dissenters' March

Tolokonnikova was born on 7 November 1989 in the industrial city of Norilsk, Russia. In her late school years, she was active in amateur modern literature and art projects, organized by the Novoye Literaturnoye Obozreniye.[6]

In 2007, Tolokonnikova enrolled in the philosophy department of the Moscow State University.

CareerEdit

Tolokonnikova and Verzilov joined the Voina art collective in 2007 and participated in several of their provocative art performances.[7] In February 2008, they were involved in the "Fuck for the heir Puppy Bear!" performance in which couples were filmed engaging in sexual acts in the Timiryazev State Biology Museum in Moscow.[8][9][10] The performance was said to be intended as a kind of satire of then President Dmitry Medvedev's call for increased reproduction. She was in the late stages of pregnancy at the time.[11] Tolokonnikova was among the Voina members who disrupted a trial for the director of the Andrei Sakharov Center in 2009.[12][13] But later, according to the "Rossiyskaya Gazeta", together with Pyotr Verzilov were expelled from Voina "for provocation and surrender of activists of the group to the police".[14]

She also took part in a series of actions Operation Kiss Garbage,[15] (Russian: "Лобзай мусора", roughly translated as "Kiss a pig") from January through March 2011. This project comprised female members' kissing policewomen in Moscow metro stations and on the streets.[16]

Arrest and indictmentEdit

 
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova at the Moscow Tagansky District Court.

Following the "Punk Prayer" incident in 21 February 2012,[17] a criminal case was opened on 26 February against the band members who had participated.[18] On 3 March, Tolokonnikova and two other alleged members of Pussy Riot were arrested by the Russian authorities and accused of hooliganism. All women at first denied being members of the group and started a hunger strike in protest against being held in jail away from their young children.[19] They were held without bail and were formally charged on 4 June with the indictment running to 2,800 pages.[20]

There was speculation that Canadian authorities might attempt to intervene because Tolokonnikova is a Canadian permanent resident;[2][21] however this did not occur.

Court case and imprisonmentEdit

 
Tolokonnikova at a protest on 4 February 2012

Tolokonnikova was serving the remainder of her two-year sentence in the IK-14 women's penal colony near the settlement of Partsa (Russian: Парца, Явасское городское поселение), Republic of Mordovia.[22] On 23 September 2013 she went on hunger strike over prison conditions and alleged threats against her life made by prison staff.[23][24][25][26] Her letter on the conditions of the women in the penal colony asserts that the women have no rights, that the prisoners must work 16–17 hours and sleep 3–4 hours a day, and that they have a daya off every 8th week. Further, she claims that if they complain, they are punished, and that if they complain over the treatment of other prisoners, they are punished even harder. Collective punishment is allegedly frequent, but she also states that the prisoners may be beaten up with particular focus on hitting the kidneys. Another punishment would consist of keeping a prisoner outdoors in the cold without sufficient clothing. Most of what she reports is affirmed by other sources.[27][28][29]

While imprisoned, she exchanged letters with filmmaker, philosopher, and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek discussing democracy and her activism.[30] Their correspondence was arranged by the French philosopher Michel Eltchaninoff, and their 11 letters were compiled into a short book, Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj, published by Verso Books in 2014.[31][32]

In late September 2013, Tolokonnikova was hospitalised after going without food for a week. She was treated in the prison's medical ward; authorities did not release more specific details.[33][34][35][36][37][38]

On 21 October 2013, she was transferred to another prison; her whereabouts remained unknown for several weeks.[39][40] On 5 November 2013, it was reported that Tolokonnikova had been transferred to IK-50, a prison located near Nizhny Ingash, approximately 300 kilometres from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.[41][42] On 15 November she was again able to communicate with her husband through a video call from the prison hospital.[43]

ReleaseEdit

On the afternoon of 23 December 2013, Tolokonnikova was released from a prison hospital in Krasnoyarsk, where she was being treated for an unspecified illness.[44] According to Yelena Pimonenko, senior prosecutor assistant of the Krasnoyarsk Krai, Tolokonnikova was released because the article "hooliganism" of the Russian Criminal Code falls under the newly introduced amnesty bill.[3] Putin's amnesty was seen by the freed prisoners and numerous critics as a propaganda stunt as Russia prepared to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in February.[45][46][47][48][49] Tolokonnikova said, "Releasing people just a few months before their term expires is a cosmetic measure ... that includes the case of Khodorkovsky, who didn't have much time left on his prison term. This is ridiculous. While Putin refuses to release those people who really needed it. It is a disgusting and cynical act"[50] and urged countries to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics.[51] She and Alyokhina said they would form a human rights movement for prison reforms.[45][48] On 6 March 2014, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were assaulted and injured at a fast food outlet by local youths in Nizhny Novgorod.[52]

After release, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina founded a penal and judicial-themed media outlet MediaZona.

Sochi detentionEdit

In February 2014, Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were detained in Sochi by the Adler Police in connection with an alleged hotel theft. They were released without charge.[53] On 19 February footage surfaced showing Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina being attacked with nagaikas by Cossacks, who were helping patrol Sochi during the Winter Olympics.[54]

WorksEdit

In 2016, she published the autobiographical book How to Start a Revolution.

In 2018-19, Tolokonnikova wrote music for and toured with the musical production Riot Days, based on the book of the same name by Maria Alyokhina.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

Tolokonnikova was previously married to Pyotr Verzilov.[55][56] They have a daughter, Gera, born in 2008.[57]

She is pansexual.[58]

Awards and honorsEdit

She is co-winner of the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought (2014).[59][60]

In popular cultureEdit

A documentary following the Pussy Riot court case, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, debuted at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.[61]

In 2015, Tolokonnikova and her Pussy Riot bandmate Maria Alyokhina appeared as themselves in Chapter 29 of House of Cards, a popular American television drama series that airs on Netflix. In the show, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina heavily criticized a fictionalized version of Vladimir Putin for corruption, while dining in the White House.[62]

An interview between Jessica Williams, Phoebe Robinson, and Tolokonnikova was featured in a November 2016 episode of the podcast 2 Dope Queens.[63]

PublicationsEdit

  • Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj (with Slavoj Žižek; Verso, 2014)
  • How to Start a Revolution (Penguin Press, 2016)
  • Rules for Rulebreakers: A Pussy Riot Guide to Protest (HarperOne, 2018)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Дело группы Pussy Riot". March 23, 2012. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b Bowman, John (August 17, 2012). "UPDATE: Should Canada intervene in the Pussy Riot case?". CBC. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ a b Толоконникова получила на руки документы об освобождении (in Russian). Gazeta.ru. December 23, 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  4. ^ "Троих предполагаемых участниц Pussy Riot признали политзаключенными" [Three of the alleged participants of Pussy Riot recognized as political prisoners]. Росбалт (in Russian). March 25, 2012. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help) Google translation.
  5. ^ "Russia: Release punk singers held after performance in church". Amnesty International. April 3, 2012.
  6. ^ Кичанова, Вера (2012). Пусси Райот. Подлинная история (in Russian). Moscow: Hocus-Pocus.
  7. ^ Peter, Thomas (August 16, 2012). "Witness to Pussy Riot's activist beginnings". Reuters. Archived from the original on September 16, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ Voina fucks for the heir Puppy Bear. Moscow: Voina. March 2, 2008.
  9. ^ Ученый совет решит судьбу студентов МГУ, участвовавших в оргии в музее. RIA Novosti (pre-resubordination) (in Russian). March 6, 2008. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  10. ^ Akinsha, Konstantin (October 1, 2009). "Art in Russia: Under Attack". ARTnews. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  11. ^ "AFP: Pussy Riot: symbol of the new anti-Putin opposition". Archived from the original on March 5, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  12. ^ Muelrath, Forrest. "Voina, Art Insurrectionists". Bombsite.com, 10 January 2011. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  13. ^ Christian Riveros-Faune. "The New Realism". Art in America Magazine, 1 June 2012. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  14. ^ "Панк-молебен в Храме Христа Спасителя готовился заранее и обсуждался в ЖЖ". Российская газета. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  15. ^ Elder, Miriam. "Radical Russian art group shows love for the police, Voina showers female police officers with kisses". Global Post, 1 March 2011. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  16. ^ Voina (February 28, 2011). Группа Война зацеловывает ментов. Moscow: Voina.
  17. ^ "Pussy Riot Declare Hunger Strike". RIA Novosti. March 5, 2012. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. ^ "Police Open Criminal Probe into 'Punk Prayer' at Christ the Savior Cathedral". RIA Novosti. February 26, 2012. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved October 27, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  19. ^ "Russian punk band Pussy Riot go on hunger strike in Moscow". The Week. March 6, 2012. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  20. ^ "Участниц Pussy Riot официально обвинили в хулиганстве по мотивам религиозной ненависти ("Pussy Riot members officially charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred")" (in Russian). rosbalt.ru. June 4, 2012. Archived from the original on October 28, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  21. ^ "Pussy Riot's Canadian Connection". CBC. May 17, 2012. Archived from the original on September 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  22. ^ "Алехиной разрешат мультики, а Толоконниковой запретят кипятильники ("Alyokhina to have access to cartoons, Tolokonnikova to be denied water heaters")" (in Russian). Moskovsky Komsomolets. October 23, 2012. Archived from the original on October 31, 2012. Retrieved October 31, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  23. ^ "Pussy Riot member declares hunger strike, slams prison conditions". Moscow News. September 23, 2013. Archived from the original on September 24, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  24. ^ Tolokonnikova, Nadezhda (September 23, 2013). "Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: Why I have gone on hunger strike". The Guardian. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  25. ^ Jailed Pussy Riot Member Starts Hunger Strike In Russia. 23 September 2013, by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
  26. ^ Tolokonnikova, Nadezhda (September 23, 2013). "Вы теперь всегда будете наказаны". Lenta.ru. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  27. ^ Solopov, Maxim (27 September 2013) "Nothing personal, just business": Human Rights Council Confirms Tolokonnikova’s Claims. Gazeta.Ru.
  28. ^ Tolokonnikova’s report on abuse in colony partly confirmed. ITAR-TASS 30 September 2013.
  29. ^ Rights in Russia: Member of Human Rights Council says Tolokonnikova’s complaints based on facts. Hro.rightsinrussia.info (26 September 2013). Retrieved on 26 December 2013.
  30. ^ "Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot's prison letters to Slavoj Žižek".
  31. ^ Smallwood, Christine (July 2014). "New Books". Harper's. Vol. 329 no. 1, 970. Harper's Foundation. p. 87.(subscription required)
  32. ^ Žižek, Slavoj; Tolokonnikova, Nadya (September 30, 2014). Comradely Greetings: The Prison Letters of Nadya and Slavoj (1 ed.). London: Verso Books. ISBN 9781781687734. Retrieved June 18, 2014.
  33. ^ Pussy Riot inmate claims Russian prison took away water. 25 September 2013 by Agence France-Presse. The Raw Story.
  34. ^ Tolokonnikova Calls 'Safe Cell' Solitary Confinement. 25 September 2013, by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
  35. ^ Hunter, Stuart (27 September 2013) Pussy Riot Member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Transferred To Prison Hospital On 5th Day Of Hunger Strike. Huffington Post.
  36. ^ Russia moves Pussy Riot inmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to medical unit. 28 September 2013 by AFP. Herald Sun.
  37. ^ Mills, Laura (1 October 2013) Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Jailed Pussy Riot Member, Ends Hunger Strike. Huffington Post
  38. ^ Black, Phil (3 October 2013) Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, jailed Pussy Riot member, halts hunger strike. CNN.
  39. ^ Martins, Chris. "Imprisoned Pussy Riot Member Disappears". Spin. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  40. ^ Elder, Miriam. "Jailed Pussy Riot Member Missing Following Prison Transfer". BuzzFeed. Retrieved November 1, 2013.
  41. ^ Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot Member, 'Transferred To Siberia'. Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved on 26 December 2013.
  42. ^ "Jailed Pussy Riot singer 'found in hospital'". BBC. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  43. ^ Oliphant, Roland. (15 November 2013) Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova 'may serve rest of jail term in hospital'. Telegraph. Retrieved on 26 December 2013.
  44. ^ "Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova freed in Russia". BBC. December 23, 2013. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  45. ^ a b "Pussy Riot: Russia frees jailed punk band members".
  46. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. (23 December 2013) Released Punk Rockers Keep Up Criticism of Putin. New York Times.
  47. ^ Mezzofiore, Gianluca (December 23, 2013). "Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Freed under Putin Amnesty [VIDEO]". Yahoo News.
  48. ^ a b Vasilyeva, Maria & Isayev, Nikolai. "Amnestied Russian punk band pair criticize Putin after release". Reuters. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  49. ^ Nadya is free. All imprisoned Pussy Riot members have now been released. Voiceproject.org (30 November 2013). Retrieved on 26 December 2013.
  50. ^ Pussy Riot pair slam Putin after early release from jail, Euronews (24 December 2013)
  51. ^ "Pussy Riot member urges Russia Olympics boycott". BBC. December 23, 2013.
  52. ^ "2 Pussy Riots Band Members assaulted in Moscow". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  53. ^ "Pussy Riot Members Nadezhda 'Nadya' Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina Detained in Sochi Ahead of Protest Performance". Newsweek.com. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  54. ^ Pussy Riot whipped at Sochi Games by Cossacks. 19 February 2014. BBC News.
  55. ^ Elder, Miriam (August 8, 2012). "Pussy Riot profile: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova". The Guardian.
  56. ^ Escritt, Thomas; Martin, Michelle (September 18, 2018). "Anti-Kremlin activist saved by prompt treatment: doctors". Reuters.
  57. ^ Nolan, Megan (April 20, 2019). "Nadya Tolokonnikova: 'I have nightmares about being in prison again'". The Guardian.
  58. ^ Kut, Andry (October 10, 2018). "Tolokonnikova told about sex with girls and public Orgy in a Museum". Hend of Moscow.
  59. ^ "Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yuri Andrukhovych receive the Hannah-Arendt-Prize 2014". Heinrich Böll Foundation. July 24, 2014. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  60. ^ "Hannah-Arendt-Preis 2014". Freie Hansestadt Bremen. November 27, 2014. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
  61. ^ Stern, Marlow (January 26, 2013). "Sundance's Best Documentary: 'Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  62. ^ "Chapter 29". House of Cards. Season 3. Episode 3. Netflix.
  63. ^ Bonus Election Episode! Pussy Riot Drops by to Play Putin vs. Trump, retrieved December 16, 2016

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