Letters to Nadya and Maria in Prison

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes — As part of the 17 Aug ’13 global Pussy Riot Solidarity Day, VBCO is collecting your letters to Nadya and Maria in prison. We’ll do our best to get your letters to Nadya and Maria.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —

Letters to Nadya and Maria in Prison. Pussy Riot trial in Russia. Nadya Tolokno. Maria Alyokhina. Yekaterina Samutsevich.

On 17 August – the day of solidarity against the unjust verdict – we are inviting all of you to join us in our solidarity movement: write letters to Maria and Nadezhda, create and sign petitions, stage art, feminist, anti-authoritarian events, sing, paint, create banners and slogans, organize gigs and concerts, flash-mobs, have pickets, protests, exhibitions, readings…
— Free Pussy Riot.org

Letters to Nadya and Maria in Prison.

On Saturday VBCO invites you to join us in Activity #1 – Pussy Riot Solidarity Parade. Dress as you are inspired to. Perhaps free Pussy Riot fashions from the new Second Life Marketplace store ASYLUM IN YOUR EMBASSY! We’ll be marching in support of these patriots at Virtual Moscow in Second Life. We’ll “occupy” virtual Moscow from 10am – Noon PDT. 17:00 – 19:00 GMT. After the march everyone is invited to Agnes’ hideaway for a dance party. The cause is serious, but we can still have fun.

Letters to Nadya and Maria in prison. Maria Alyokhina during Pussy Riot trial.

Maria Alyokhina

Our Parade will be part of a global day of solidarity. As you see in the quotation from Free Pussy Riot.org above, they have also asked us to write letters to Nadya and Maria in prison.

I can’t imagine what 2 years in prison is like. A letter of support from a stranger can’t take it all away. I hope a letter can be a small ray of hope in the dullness and horror of another day. I don’t know that Nadya or Maria will even be able to see our letters. But I’m convinced we have to try. We’ll take all the letters to Nadya and Maria we collect on Friday & Saturday and deliver them to Free Pussy Riot.org on Sunday. We’ll also collect letters to Nadya and Maria on Sunday and Monday and deliver a 2nd batch on Tuesday. I hope the actual letters will reach Nadya and Maria. If not, I hope they at least receive word of our support.

Letters to Nadya and Maria in prison. Pussy Riot trial photo. Nadya Tolokno raising her clenched fist n the air.

Nadya Tolokno

Anything you’d like to contribute is welcome. A heartfelt tome. A sentence or two. If it were me on the inside I think anything would make my day a little more bearable. A little more hopeful. Nadya, Maria, and their Pussy Riot peers are trying to bring hope, equality, and freedom to the country they love. I’m happy to try to send a little hope to them.

You can write your letters to Nadya and Maria as a comment here. Long or short. Or you can write on your own blog and add your URL as a comment here. Or any other way you’d like. For the rest of this post I’ll share a bit of info about Nadya and Maria. You probably don’t need it to write a letter. But you might like to have a little more info.

Nadya, Maria & Yekaterina

Nadya Tolokno, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were each sentenced to 2 years in prison. Yekaterina’s sentence was later suspended and she was released on probation. Nadya and Maria have been separated and continue to serve out their 2 years in different Russian prison facilities.

Letters to Nadya and Maria in prison. Maria Alyokhina from the Pussy Riot trial.

Maria Alyokhina

Maria Alyokhina

• Wikipedia / Maria Alyokhina
Born: 6 June 1988. Age: 25.

From Wikipedia:
Maria Alyokhina is a fourth-year student at the Institute of Journalism and Creative Writing in Moscow. She is a poet and participant of the literature courses of Dmitry Vedenyapin and Alexey Kubrik. She is an environmental activist with Greenpeace Russia, and has opposed development projects in the Khimki Forest. She was a volunteer at Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in Moscow. She has a five-year-old son, Philip. She is a vegan and reportedly collapsed from hunger during the trial. She played an active role in the Pussy Riot trial: cross-examining witnesses, and aggressively questioning the charges and proceedings. She said in her closing statement:

For me, this trial only has the status of a ‘so-called’ trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of lies and fiction, of the thinly disguised fraud in the sentence of this so-called court. Because you can only take away my so-called freedom. And that is the exact kind that exists now in Russia. But nobody can take away my inner freedom.

Nadya Tolokno

• Wikipedia / Nadya Tolokno
Born: 7 November 1989. Age: 23.

Letters to Nadya and Maria in prison. Nadya Tolokno in cage during Pussy Riot trial.

Nadya Tolokno

From Wikipedia:
Nadya Tolokno is a philosophy student at Moscow State University. She has a history of political activism with the street-art group Voina. She is married to Pyotr Verzilov. Her daughter is Gera. She has Canadian permanent resident status. Her husband is a dual citizen of Canada and Russia. Tolokonnikova is serving the remainder of her sentence in the IK-14 women’s penal colony in Mordovia.

Tolokonnikova has been a member of the Voina collective since 2007. In 2010 Tolokonnikova was among the Voina activists who attempted to release cockroaches into the Tagansky Courthouse. She also took part in a series of actions, Operation Kiss Garbage, in 2011. In Operation Kiss Garbage they kissed policewomen in Moscow metro stations and on the streets.

At her 26 July parole hearing Tolokno said,

Everywhere — in schools, prisons and universities, at voting stations and sitting in front of the TV — we are taught to obey, to lie, to bite our tongues, to say ‘yes’ when we want to say ‘no.’ The great cause of our civilization is to foster in ourselves, our children and friends an antidote to this obedience — an obedience that eats people alive.

L i n k y . L i n k y

• Free Pussy Riot.org / Pussy Riot Solidarity Day 17 August 2013
• Human Rights First / Pussy Riot Day of Solidarity
• n+1 / Pussy Riot Denied Parole
• Wikipedia / Nadya Tolokno
• Wikipedia / Maria Alyokhina
• iRez / Asylum in Your Embassy! Grand Opening!
• Second Life Marketplace / Asylum in Your Embassy! Fashion Salon
• iRez / Pussy Riot Week
• iRez / Activity #1 Pussy Riot Solidarity Parade

Letters to Nadya and Maria in prison. Photograph from Pussy Riot trial in Russia. Nadya Tolokno and Maria Alyokhina peek through the small opening in the glass cell they were kept in during the trial.

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