Join us for an evening with Pussy Riot in LA

April 6th, 2014

Pussy Riot’s Nadya and Masha address European Pariament, call for increased sanctions on Putin officials

April 1st, 2014

Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyekhina addressing the European Parliament today. Photo: @gruppa_voina

Nadya Tolokonnikova aand Masha Alyekhina of Pussy Riot and prisoners’ rights NGO Zona Prava addressed the European Parliament today, and they’ve passed us some notes on what they spoke about:

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Topics covered in the European Parilament speech today [Russian version below]:

1. There’s the threat of an Iron Curtain.

Putin wants a new Iron Curtain to fall between Europe and Russia. He is doing everything for that. The TV screens spew shameless anti-western propaganda akin to that in the Soviet Union during the cold war.

2. Resistance to the Iron Curtain.

The people of Russia do not need the Iron Curtain. Who needs it is Putin, his officials and oligarchy to keep on with their shameless propaganda and oil and gas money-grabbing. To them everyone around is the enemy. Except Putin. The one that allows his cronies to earn 138 mln rubles a month in wages, like Igor Sechin does.

Putin and his team live by Gegel’s maxim: “If facts contradict my theory, so much the worse for the facts”. This is the underlying principle of all the Russian media seized by Putin’s team.

3. YES – to expanding sanctions against Putin’s officials and oligarchy.

The EU should turn to strict sanctions against the Russian elite responsible for aggression in Ukraine and corruption. The list of people under sanctions should grow.

4. NO – to sanctions against ordinary Russians.

The sanctions should not affect the Russian people. The sanction list should only include the members of Putin’s elites responsible for aggression in Crimea and robbing Russia.

5. YES – to expanding contacts between Russia and Europe and lightening the visa regime for Russians.

We must not let Putin build an Iron Curtain he’ll benefit from. We need more cultural, social and human rights contacts between Russia and the West. We advocate easing the visa regime with the EU for ordinary Russian citizens – they should have a chance to visit Europe and see everything for themselves without relying on the propaganda.

6. Aid to the people of Crimea from Europe.

The people of Crimea are in a tough legal situation due to the region passing under Russian control and may face problems getting visas to European countries. But if the EU turns their backs on them, Crimea will be left one on one with Putin’s oligarchs and crooks from the EU’s sanction list that will build villas on the pristine shores of Crimea and throw to jail those who raise their voices against such treatment of the Crimean environment.

7. We suggest expanding the Putun’s elite sanction list and firstly we’d like to see the following people on that list:

Dmitry Medvedev, who had long been regarded by the West and some Russians as a member of the “liberal camp” of the Russian establishment while actually being an odious and hypocritical agent of Putin’s will.

Igor Sechin, the de facto head of the Russian extraction industry, director of Rosneft and supervisor of Putin’s siloviki block.

Roman Abramovich, a key oligarch in Putin’s inner circle, the majority of whose assets currently are in the West.

Viktor Vekselberg, an oligarch from Putin’s and Medvedev’s inner circle supervising the “high-tech project” sector of the Russian economy, the Skolkovo innovation cluster project, personally responsible for inefficiency and embezzling in these spheres.

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IN RUSSIAN:

1. Есть угроза железного занавеса.

Путин хочет, чтобы между Европой и Россией опять опустился железный занавес. Он все для этого делает. С экранов телевизоров ведется разнузданная антизападная пропаганда образца Советского союза времен холодной войны.

2. Занавесу – нет.

Жителям России железный занавес не нужен. Он нужен Путину, его чиновникам и олигархам, чтобы беззастенчиво дурачить пропагандой народ и качать нефтегазовые деньги. Все вокруг – враги. Кроме Путина. Который позволяет своим друзьям получать по 138 млн рублей в месяц одной лишь легальной зарплаты. Игорю, например, Сечину.

Путин и его команда живут по гегелевскому принципу: “Если факты противоречат моей теории, тем хуже для фактов”. По этому принципу построены все СМИ в России, захваченные командой Путина.

3. Да – расширению санкций против путинских чиновников и олигархов.

Евросоюз должен быть озабочен жесткими санкциями в отношении российской элиты, ответственной за развязывание агрессии в Украине и коррупцию. Список лиц, подвергнутых санкциям, должен расширяться.

4. Нет – санкциям против России.

Санкции не должны касаться населения России. В санкционный лист должны входить лишь члены путинских элит, ответственных за агрессию в Крыму и разворовывание России.

5. Да – расширению контактов между Россией и Европой и облегчению визового режима для россиян.

Мы не должны дать Путину построить железный занавес, который ему выгоден. Больше культурных, общественных, правозащитных контактов между Россией и западными странами. Мы выступаем за упрощение визового режима с ЕС для простых граждан России – у них должен быть шанс посетить Европу и увидеть все собственными глазами, не полагаясь на пропаганду.

6. Помощь жителям Крыма со стороны Европы.

Жители Крыма попали в сложную правовую ситуацию в связи с переходом региона под российский контроль и могут столкнуться с проблемами при получении виз в страны Европы. Но если Евросоюз отвернется от них, то Крым останется один на один с путинскими олигархами и ворами из санкционного списка ЕС, которые будут на заповедных территориях побережья Крыма строить недвижимость и бросать в тюрьму тех, кто выступит против такого обращения с природой Крыма.

7. Предлагаем расширить санкционный список в отношении путинской элиты, и в первую очередь мы хотели бы наблюдать в списке следующих лиц:

- Дмитрий Медведев, который долгое время рассматривался Западом и некоторыми в России как представитель “либерального крыла” российской власти, но на деле являлся одиозным и лицемерным исполнителем поручений Путина.

- Игорь Сечин, который является де-факто руководителем сырьевого комплекса России, главой Роснефти и куратором силового блока в окружении Путина.

- Роман Абрамович, ключевой олигарх в ближайшем окружении Путина, большая часть активов которого в данный момент размещена на Западе.

- Виктор Вексельберг, олигарх из окружения Путина и Медведева, курирующего сектор “высокотехнологических проектов” в российской экономике, проект Сколково и лично ответственного за неэффективность и расхищение денег в данных сферах.

A major victory for Solidarity Singers, 44 cases thrown out!

March 31st, 2014

MADISON, WI – March 31, 2014 – The Solidarity Singers of Wisconsin have scored a major victory in court. Forty four of the cases citing the peaceful protesters have been thrown out, ruled unconstitutional by Dane county Judge Maryann Sumi.

The singers were participants in the “Solidarity Sing Alongs” where hundreds were arrested and cited for singing in their state capitol to protest policies of Governor Scott Walker. Earlier this month, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Aleykhina from Pussy Riot appeared in a video from The Voice Project, expressing support for the Solidarity Singers.

Dismissing all the cases before her, 44 cases against 27 people cited for singing in the Capitol rotunda last summer, Judge Maryann Sumi is the fourth judge in the last two months to find the administrative rules unconstitutional. Singers who had been arrested and cited during the protests received letters starting on Friday from the court.

Over the weekend the singers took to Facebook to celebrating Judge Sumi’s decision:

Citation dismissed! I was arrested for singing in the Wisconsin State Capitol on August 8, one of about 400 arrested as part of the Solidarity Singalong last year. I had to pay a fine and spend three hours in the slammer. Yesterday Maryann Sumi became the latest Dane County Judge to dismiss the citations in her court (including mine), because Gov. Walker’s administrative rule on unlawful assembly “violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” … Thanks to Patricia K Hammel for all her legal work, and to all our friends who continue to fight tyranny and sing every weekday at noon.
-Zoltán Grossman, Facebook post on Saturday, March 29, 2014

Previously, on March 10, Judge Frank Remington dismissed cases before him, and on March 20 Judge Richard Niess dismissed his remaining Solidarity Singer cases. However, even though judges continue to rule on the unconstitutionality of the arrests and citations of Solidarity Singers and not a single prosecution attempted by the Department of Justice under attorney general J.B. Van Hollen has been successful, Attorney general Van Hollen’s office has still been pursuing these prosecutions against the peaceful demonstrators. “The Walker administration and Attorney General Van Hollen have continued with what certainly seems to be an attempt to intimidate citizens from exercising free speech and free assembly by pursuing these cases, even in the face of the overwhelming and ongoing judicial defeats they are facing,” said Voice Project executive director Hunter Heaney.

Judge Sumi stated in her dismissal order that “For the reasons well stated in State of Wisconsin v. Michael Crute” that the administrative rule “violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” and that “an unconstitutional rule is void and unenforceable.”

Moreover, Judge Peter Anderson had ordered the Dept. of Justice to prepare a cost benefit analysis of the hundreds of prosecutions by April 1. On March 27 Assistant Attorney General Daniel Lennington, one of the attorneys who argued the federal court case, Kissick v. Huebsch in April 2013 that resulted in an injunction against the enforcement of the rules, sent a letter in reply. Lennington’s letter refused to provide any statement of costs or benefits, instead claiming that by adopting rules to regulate use of the Capitol the Governor and legislature had determined that no enforcement cost was too high for “ensuring the safety of visitors” or “enabling elected officials…to do their business” in the Capitol unimpeded.

“The Capitol Police and Dept. of Justice don’t want people to know how much taxpayer money is being wasted on arresting peaceful singers,” replied Attorney Patricia Hammel, who represents ten defendants including five whose cases have now been dismissed by the courts. “The Solidarity Sing Along is continuing with no arrests for the first sixteen months or the last six months, and the “business” of the legislature, limiting voting rights, denying recourse to victims of asbestos exposure and trying to strip local communities of the power to pass living wage or mining ordinances goes on unimpeded, despite popular opposition to such measures. There have been no reports of any visitors being injured by singing, either.”

“We all owe a tremendous debt to the participants of the Solidarity Sing Along as well as the lawyers who continue to fight, and to the judges who are standing up to the administration by protecting the constitution,” said Heaney. “These are the front lines of fighting for democracy in this country and it’s happening right now in Wisconsin.”

For more information see:
The Madison Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
Firsthand account of arrest, by Zoltán Grossman

voiceproject.org/solidarity

#SolidarityWisconsin

March 13th, 2014

GET INVOLVED, WE NEED YOU! SOLIDARITY FOREVER.

#SolidarityWisconsin from The Voice Project on Vimeo.

BREAKING: Pussy Riot attacked in Nizhny Novgorod McDonalds

March 6th, 2014

On the morning of March 6, 2014 Pussy Riot members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, along with Peter Verzilov and members of their prisoners rights NGO Zona Prava (Zone of the Rights) arrived in the city of Nizhny Novgorod to inspect a local prison. At 7:20 am an organized group barged into the McDonalds where members of Pussy Riot with their crew were having breakfast and attacked them with pepper spray and green disinfectant.

We’ll publish more updates as we get them from the Zona Prava team.

UPDATE 1: more pictures

Photo: @noizef

Photo: @gruppa_voina

UPDATE 2: Hospital records below. Masha with a concussion and two stitches, Nadya with first degree burns to the eyes.

Who Breaks a Butterfly upon a Wheel? A Tribute to Pussy Riot.

March 1st, 2014

Put together by Todd Gardner, this compilation of songs recorded by fellow musicians in support of Pussy Riot during their incarceration is really quite good. The songs are cover versions of Pussy Riot songs and expressions of solidarity and support, listen or grab it for free at here bandcamp.

Pussy Riot, the IOC, and Human Rights Work in Russia

February 26th, 2014

Voice Project co-founder Hunter Heaney contributed this piece on Pussy Riot, the IOC and the Olympics, and this next phase for human rights in Russia to the Huffington post:

The Sochi games are over, and I won’t miss them. Knowing the widespread and systematic abuses of human rights under a Russian regime that also arrests and whips those who speak out against it, I found it hard to concentrate on who skated faster in a circle… read more

ALERT: Nadya and Masha arrested as May 6th protesters given harsh sentences

February 24th, 2014

MOSCOW, February 24 (The Voice Project) – With the Olympics over, it’s quickly back to business as usual for Russia. A court in Moscow has today sentenced seven of the Bolotnaya Square protesters to up to four years in prison for their involvement in an anti-Putin protests on May 6th of 2012.

While the US State Department issued a statement on Friday that the “politically-motivated trial that points to serious concerns about due process and rule of law in Russia,” the sentences read out today at court in Moscow for seven defendants ranged from two and half to four years.

Sergei Krivov was given 4 years, Andrei Barabanov:  3 years and 7 months, Stepan Zimin and Aleksei Polikhovitch: 3 years and 6 months, Artyom Savyolov: 2 years and 7 months, and Yaroslav Belousov: 2 years and 6 months. An eighth protester, Alexandra Dukhanina, the only woman on trial, was sentenced to probation despite a request from prosecutors for a 6 year jail term. State prosecutors had recommended at least five years imprisonment for all of the defendants.

Outside the court, police broke up protests and arrested more than 100 people for disturbing the peace, including Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, as well as Tolokonnikova’s husband, Peter Verzilov.

Many have alleged that sentencing for the Bolotnaya case was delayed until after this weekend’s Olympic closing ceremony.

Pussy Riot’s new video: “Putin will teach you how to love the motherland”

February 20th, 2014

The lengths taken to keep Pussy Riot from having press conference we were planning with them to release new vid; tires slashed, hotel cancels meeting room over “burst pipe,” but no matter-

HERE IT IS: Pussy Riot’s new video: “Putin will teach you how to love the motherland”

50 billion and a gay-driven rainbow,
Rodnina and Kabaeva will pass you those flames
In prison they will teach you how to obey
Salut to all bosses, hail, duce!

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

Sochi is blocked – Olympic surveillance
Special forces, weapons, crowds of cops
FSB is an argument, the police is an argument
State tv will run your applause.

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

Spring to Russia comes suddenly
Hello to the messiah as a shot from Avrora
The prosecutor will put you down
Give him some reaction and not those pretty eyes

A cage for the protests, vodka, matrioshka
Prison for May 6th, more vodka and caviar
The Constitution is lynched, Vitishko’s in prison
Stability, the prison meal, the fence and the watchtower

For TV Rain they’ve shut down the airwaves
They took gay pride down the washroom
A two-ass toilet – a priority
Sentence to Russia, medium security, 6 years

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

The motherland
The motherland
The motherland

#Euromaiden #Kiev

February 19th, 2014