Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina speaks about group's future

The Russian activist was freed from prison yesterday (December 23)

Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina speaks about group's future

Photo: PA

Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina has spoken about the activist group's future since she and fellow member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were released from prison under new amnesty law yesterday (December 23).

The feminist punk collective's members were given two-year sentences in August 2012 after their now infamous "punk prayer" protest at Moscow's Cathedral Of Christ The Savior. They were taken to a prison camp in Berniki in the remote Ural Mountains. Speaking to Rolling Stone after her release, Alyokhina revealed the group would continue to exist in some form.

"I think it's best if we give more details when we appear together so there is no dissonance," she began. "We need to meet first. Everything needs to be talked about with Nadya. Whatever we do, will definitely be connected with that sort of action that we found effective."

She continued: "It'll be a human rights defense organization, but of a new kind. We're going to use the brightness and illumination of media resources to reveal problems, focusing on the camps, but also perhaps more generally. We're still deciding on the form, but me and her are unanimous about this."

It is believed that the amnesty that led to Pussy Riot's release was announced in an effort to improve Russia's image ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which begin in Sochi in January. It will lead to the freeing of 500,000 prisoners, including the 'Arctic 30' Greenpeace protesters who were arrested earlier this year when some of the activists tried to scale Russia's first offshore oil platform.

But, Alyokhina told Rolling Stone, "I wanted to [turn down the amnesty] but unfortunately it wasn't in my power. If I had had any possibility of doing so, I definitely would have refused this amnesty. I don't need it. I'm not guilty, I'm not a criminal, I don't consider it mercy. I was always free because I felt free."

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