Pussy Riot members jailed over social media posts

Pussy Riot members Masha Alekhina and Lucy Shteyn have been arrested yet again in Moscow,

Pussy Riot members Masha Alekhina and Lucy Shteyn have been arrested yet again in Moscow, this time on charges of “propaganda of Nazi symbolism”, and sentenced to 15 days in prison.

Alekhina, a lead member of the group who spent nearly two years in prison for a performance, wrote in an Instagram post shortly before being detained: “Right now I will leave the apartment building, I will be detained, taken to the police department and given 15 days. What for? For nothing? For a post with [Aleksandr] Lukashenko in 2015.”

Her lawyer told MediaZona, a prisoners’ rights news site, that the charges were based on her 26 November Instagram stories repost of a 2015 image of the Belarusian dictator surrounded by swastikas. A screenshot on MediaZona shows the image but blurs the swastikas, since showing them could lead to charges against the publication.

Alekhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova founded MediaZona after their release from prison following their 2021 “punk prayer” performance against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

“I am thinking about Lukashenko being a pure fascist, already no one doubts it after the past year,” wrote Alekhina in her Instagram post as she anticipated arrest. “So I’ll go to the detention centre with a clear conscience.”

Shteyn, who is a municipal legislator in a central Moscow district, was detained shortly before Alekhina. In a tweet, she posted the image for which she was charged, in which she herself is denounced as a “fascist” and depicted in a Nazi officer’s cap. She described it ironically as “someone’s fan art” and said she had posted it in 2018 after screenshotting it from YouTube.

Shteyn and Alekhina, who became a couple in 2020, both spent months under house arrest awaiting trial on charges of encouraging violation of Covid-19 restrictions at a 23 January demonstration in support of Aleksei Navalny, the jailed opposition leader.

Following a September verdict, Alekhina is awaiting the formal start of a year-long sentence of severe restrictions to freedom of movement. Shteyn received the same sentence in August, and was detained on Thursday when heading to register with the corrections service according to the terms of her sentence. Several members of Pussy Riot left Russia in 2021 under increasing pressure of arrest.

In her Instagram post, Alekhina accused the authorities of stalling with the official start of her sentence in a “new spiral of hell” and a “kind of Kafkaesque piling on of additional months of restriction of liberty.”

https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2021/12/17/pussy-riot-members-jailed-for-social-media-posts