Activity No.1 – Pussy Riot Solidarity Parade

Estimated reading time: 1 minutes — In Activity No.1 – Pussy Riot Solidarity Parade, I, “fake Nadya Tolonko” was joined by 29 other avatars in a solidarity march at virtual Moscow in Second Life

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes —

Activity No.1. Pussy Riot Solidarity Parade. Photo of avatar Nadya Tolokno.

Mordovian Prison; Avatar Dreams

Activity No.1: My husband is a dual citizen of Russia and Canada. And thanks to some clever avatars, I am now a dual citizen of the physical world and the virtual world. Today was the 1 year anniversary of the verdict in my trial. And I have now been banned from both physical Moscow, and virtual Moscow. In the physical world I’m about 444km Southeast of Moscow in the Republic of Mordovia. I spend my days and nights at the IK-14 women’s penal colony in Mordovia. Earlier today I was at Virtual Moscow in Second Life. Screen Cap of Firestorm Second Life viewer. Shows that user has been ejected and banned from Virtual Moscow.But I have now been banished from virtual Moscow 1 year after I was banished from physical Moscow. I was with a group of freedom marchers in front of Virtual St. Basil’s Cathedral when the “Virtual Putin” of that place ejected and banned us all. We received neither a warning nor an explanation. One moment we were on the lawn in front of St. Basil’s and the next we were treading in deep water.

Solidarity

I suppose I can’t really complain. As the “fake Nadya Tolokno” at least I get to dance in front of virtual cathedrals. The real Nadya Tolokno and Maria Alyokhina probably don’t, from their prison cells, even know what we did in support of them today. They suffer in labor camps for having the audacity to yearn for freedom. The saddest thing is that they may not know how many people around the globe are inspired by their courage and their conviction. Diptych of Nelson Mandela and Nadya Tolokno. Each raising a fist into the air.Some of my avatar friends like to claim I’ll be president of Russia one day. It took Nelson Mandela 31 years to go from serving a prison sentence to serving as president. They hope I can do it in less time than that.

Activity No.1

Pussy Riot Solidarity Parade
Red Square, Virtual Moscow
• Saturday 17 August 2013, 10am – Noon PDT / 17:00 – 19:00 GMT
Anyway, at least I, “fake Nadya” was inspired to see so many avatars wearing balaclavas and bright dresses and leggings and singing our protest songs and dancing in front of the cathedral. Virtual Moscow is a whole 6.5 hectare region of virtual land where nobody ever uses any of it. It’s a Russian voice chat hangout at the visually boring arrival point. Today we brought our group of marchers and went off to the cathedral. We danced and sang. Many came to be a part. And then we were thrown out. In the physical world you get arrested. So I supose having your avatar thrown out really isn’t bad at all. Still, while the degree is far less, it’s still oppression. Then again, as “only avatars,” as “fake people” with no rights, being picked up and thrown out made us feel just a little bit real. It made us feel just a little bit like real Pussy Riot.

You Are an Acceptable Level of Threat and If You Were Not You Would Know About It
— Banksy

Obviously Pussy Riot is not an acceptable level of threat to Vladimir Putin. And I guess even our “virtual protest” was an unacceptable threat to “Virtual Putin.”

Activity No 1. Two avatars wearing balaclava play electric guitars on the roof of St. Basil's Cathedral.

“According to most people, a mask is there to hide you. You put a mask in order to hide your real identity. I think it’s more the other way around. You wear a mask because you want to show who you are.”
— Franco Mattes


 

Here’s a gallery of photos. Half are from our solidarity parade at Virtual Moscow yesterday, and half are from different events around the globe. You can click on any image to enter slide show mode, and then use your arrow keys to scroll from image to image.

#pussyriot / twitter


Diptych of athletic medal ceremonies. Tommie Smith, Juan Carlos, and Peter Norman at the Mexico City games in 1968. Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov at the IAFF championships in Moscow in 2013.

Sometimes it’s an American fist. Sometimes it’s a Russian kiss. Whether it’s Tommie Smith, Juan Carlos, and Australian Peter Norman in Mexico City in 1968, Or Kseniya Ryzhova and Tatyana Firov in Moscow yesterday, courageous athletes have always stood for freedom. As we were marching yesterday, the IAAF track championships were on in Moscow. The Russian women edged out the Americans and the British to take gold in the 4×400 relay. Ryzhova and Firov shared a same-sex kiss on the medal stand in protest of Putin’s hateful anti-LGBTQIA laws. Some people have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics in Sochi in Februrary. I think as long as we have courageous athletes like Ryzhova & Firov that we’re better off being there and standing up for freedom.


 
UPDATE: Exiled from virtual Moscow I’m slow to get news. Of course, not as slow as real Nadya stuck in prison. I just heard that Russian athletic authorities claim Ryzhova & Firov’s kiss wasn’t a protest. It was “just a kiss.” I guess that’s the thing about oppressive surveillance regimes. Paranoia is everywhere. Everyone judges. Is it a “protest kiss?” Is it an illegal “homosexual kiss?” Is it “just a kiss?” Whatever it was, it made people think. To me, that’s a great kiss!

LINKS

• Flickr / Free Pussy Riot, Nes Artist Residency, Skagaströnd, Iceland
• Radio Liberty / Pussy Riot Verdict: Children Still Coming To Grips
• New York Daily News / Pussy Riot supporters at Russian Consulate
• Yahoo Sports Canada / Russian gold medalists protest with a kiss
• Website / Free Pussy Riot.org

• iRez / My statement at my parole hearing
• iRez / Letters to Nadya and Maria in prison
• iRez / Asylum in Your Embassy! Grand Opening!
• Second Life Marketplace / Asylum in Your Embassy!
• iRez / Pussy Riot Week
• iRez / Previz #71 – Activity No1 – Pussy Riot Solidarity Parade

 

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and daughter Gera making faces in a forest. Their hands are slightly stained, as if picking blueberries.

With my daughter Gera.
Some people ask what kind of mother would commit an act that would leave a 5-year-old without her mother for 2 years? First, you should know that the penalty for our “act” is thirty dollars. Even in our wildest Putin-is-a-fascist-maniac nightmares we didn’t imagine that he’d throw out all Russian laws in order to exile us in labor camps 400km from Moscow.
I miss Gera every day. I am sad I can’t be there for her. My body and soul ache at missing these precious moments of her life. Still. What kind of mother wouldn’t stand up to try to make a better world where her daughter can grow up in real freedom, not the fake freedom, oppression, and soul crushing conformity of Putin’s regime?

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