Home Page > News Item > RUSSIA: Russian cultural figures demand freedom for Pussy Riot band members

29 June 2012

“Мы считаем, что действия Pussy Riot не являются уголовным преступлением. Девушки никого не убили, не ограбили, не совершали насилия, не уничтожали и не похищали чужого имущества.”

“We do not believe that the actions of Pussy Riot constitute a criminal offence. The girls did not kill anyone, did not rob anyone, did not use violence and did not destroy or steal anyone’s property.”

On 26 June the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsolets published an appeal signed by more than 100 of Russia’s best-known cultural figures urging the release of Pussy Riot band members. The signatories include several prominent members of Russian PEN, including Ludmila Ulitskaya, Veronika Dolina, Lev Rubinstein and Mikhail Zhvanetsky amongst others. The statement follows:

APPEAL BY CULTURE AND ART FIGURES OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION

On 20th of June Moscow’s Tagansky District Court extended the detention of Pussy Riot members. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samusevich have been held in custody since March this year. They are charged under article 213 (2) of the Criminal Code according to which they can face up to 7 years in prison.

We, signatories of this appeal, have a different evaluation of the moral and ethical aspects of the Pussy Riot members’ February rally in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour:

– We do not believe that the actions of Pussy Riot constitute a criminal offence. The girls did not kill anyone, did not rob anyone, did not use violence and did not destroy or steal anyone’s property. Russia is a secular government and as anti-clerical actions do not fall under the criminal code they cannot be reasons for prosecution;

– We think that the criminal charges against Pussy Riot compromise the Russian judiciary and undermine trust in these institutions as a whole. As the band members remain in custody, an atmosphere of intolerance grows in our society which in turn leads to its further disunity and radicalisation;

– We do not see any legal basis or practical reason for the further isolation of these young women who do not pose any danger to society. Furthermore, three of them are young mothers;

– We are convinced of the necessity to release Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Ekaterina Samusevich from custody and drop charges or to at least downgrade their case from a criminal to administrative offence.

Signatories:

Oleg Basilashvili, actor; Chulpan Khamatova, actress; Elvar Ryazanov, director; Evgeny Mironov, actor; Liya Akhedzhakova, actress; Mikhail Zhvanetsky, writer; Sergey Yursky, actor; Natalya Tenyakova, actress; Igor Kvasha, actor; Aleksey German, director; Svetlana Karmalita, screenwriter; Aleksey German Jr., director; Andrey Konchalovsky, director; Aleksandr Proshkin, director; Yury Arabov, writer; Andrey Smirnov, director; Avdotya Smirnova, director; Kirill Serebrennikov, director; Valery Meladze, musician; Feodor Bondarchuk, director, producer; Svetlana Bondarchuk; publisher; Emmanuel Vitorgan, actor, Maksim Vitorgan, actor; Yusuf Reihenhaus, director; Kama Ginkas, director; Henrietta Yanovskaya, director; Garry Bardin, director; Pavel Bardin, director; Dmitry Bertman, director; Grigory Chartishvili, writer; Ludmila Ulitskaya, writer; Veronika Dolina, poet, musician; Andrey Zvyalintsev, director; Vladimir Mirzoev, director; Dmitry Krimov, director; Efim Shifrin, actor; Nikolay Tsiskaridze, ballet artist; Maksim Sukhanov, actor; Evgeniya Dobrovolskaya, actress, Kirill Kozakov, actor; Yelena Koreneva, actress; Yulia Menshova, actress; Igor Gordin, actor; Darya Moroz, actress; Natalya Negoda, actress; Yulia Snigir, actress; Pavel Derevyanko, actor; Aleksandr Yatsenko, actor; Aleksey Devotchenko, actor; Irina Rakhmanova, actress; Evgeny Pisarev, director; Dmitry Chernyakov, director; Boris Khlebnikov, director; Aleksey Popogrebsky, director; Konstantin Bogomolov, director; Aleksey Fedorchenko, director; Darya Ekamasova, actress; Vladimir Kott, director; Aleksandr Kott, director; Anna Melikyan, director; Olga Dykhovichnaya, actress, director; Angelina Nikonova, director; Polina Osetinskaya, musician; Elena Gremina, playwright; Sergey Shargunov, writer; Dmitry Bykov, writer; Viktor Shenderovich, writer; Yelena Rayskaya, playwright; Lev Rubinstein, poet; Vitaly Mansky, director; Marina Razbezhkina, director; Kirill Razgolov, cinema historia; Aleksandr Zeldovich, director, screenwriter; Nikolay Lebedev, director; Diana Arbenina, musician; Gleb Samoylov, musician; Aleksey Romanov, musician; Leva Bi-2, musician; Roma “the Beast”, musician, Leonid Barats, actor; Sergey Petreykov, director; Rostislav Khait, actor; Maksim Kurochkin, playwright; Aleksandr Rodionov, screenwriter; Aleksandr Atanesyan, director, producer; Aleksey Steblev, musician; Natalya Ryurikova, gallery owner; Mikhail Ugarov, director and playwright; Vyacheslav Durnenkov, playwright; Mikhail Durnenkov, playwright; Boris Grebenshikov, musician; Evdokya Germanova, actress; Leonid Desyatnikov, composer; Oleg Dorman, director; Andrey Khrzhanovky, director, screenwriter; Aleksandr Rastorguev, director; Pavel Kostomarov, director, cameraman.

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