February 24, 2014 16:33

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak dismisses assault on Pussy Riot

Politician claims punk protest group were trying to 'provoke this conflict'

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak dismisses assault on Pussy Riot

Photo: Getty

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak has dismissed the recent assault on punk protest group Pussy Riot.

Last week (February 20), members of the collective were attacked with whips by both uniformed Cossacks and security men as they attempted to perform in the Russian city of Sochi, where the Winter Olympics were taking place.

However, the BBC says that Kozak was dismissive of the attack on the band members and he insisted: "The girls came here specifically to provoke this conflict. They had been searching for it for some time and finally they had this conflict with local inhabitants."

Reports had claimed that Pussy Riot had been set upon by approximately a dozen Cossacks, who ripped off their masks and threw the group's guitar away. It is also alleged that one of the Cossacks used pepper spray. The altercation is said to have lasted several minutes and left one Pussy Riot member with a bloodied face, but the police did not make any arrests once they arrived.

Previously, meanwhile, Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova had claimed that she and Maria Alyokhina had been arrested in Sochi and were being detained in the centre of the town. "We were just walking around Sochi when they grabbed us," Tolokonnikova told the Guardian via phone from a police station. "They told us we are suspected of theft. Of course there has been no theft."

Semyon Simonov, a local human rights activist, was also detained along with the group and claims that he, Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova and seven others were picked up on the street by police after they were tipped off by employees of the hotel in which they are staying.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were released from prison in December 2013 after serving a two-year sentence for protesting in a Moscow church.

Earlier this year Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were criticised in an open letter by activists claiming to be members of Pussy Riot for launching human rights group Zona Prava (Justice Zone).

The statement also suggested that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have ignored attempts to communicate and expressed frustration with the way the pair were presented at a recent Amnesty International concert in New York.

Read More On This Artist

Comments

Please login to add your comment.

Featured Videos
Latest Tickets - Booking Now
 
Know Your NME
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
 

 
NME Store & Framed Prints
Most Read News
Popular This Week
Inside NME.COM
New Issue Out Now
On NME.COM Today