28 April 2014

On October 10th, Yekaterina Samutsevich was freed from prison on appeal. She is one of the three members of the Russian band Pussy Riot who was convicted of hooliganism on August 17th and initially handed a two-year prison sentence for performing a profanity-laden “Punk Prayer” inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. According to The Guardian, security camera footage proving that Samutsevich was prevented from joining the others during the performance secured the new ruling. The appeals of Samutsevich’s bandmates Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were struck down and their sentence is being upheld.



Yekaterina Samutsevich discusses her jailed bandmates in this AFP video.



Despite requests from the women’s lawyers to have them sent to penal colonies closer to their families (both are mothers with young children), they have been sent to camps in the remote areas of Mordovia and Perm. According to the BBC, the Soviet-era camps house inmates in crowded barracks with 50-100 people per building, with no separation based on the severity of the inmates’ crimes. The news outlet goes on to describe the strict routine implemented at the colonies, “wake… up at 06:00… morning exercises five minutes later… work until 13:00… lunch… more work 16:00…”



The Moscow Times reports that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (who has been sent to Mordovia) will be making cakes for the colony’s confectionary factory. Maria Alyokhina (who is in Perm – more commonly referred to as “the gateway to Siberia”) will be sewing uniforms for soldiers. In an interview with The Daily Beast, the women’s lawyer said that before they were sent out, “They sounded brave, and asked me to send their warmest wishes to all their friends. ‘Continue to support us, please,’ was their message.”