Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Jailed Pussy Rioter, Changes Russian Prisons

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 08:30 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the jailed Russian political activist and member of the punk rock band Pussy Riot, has been relocated to another penal colony though her family has reportedly yet to be informed of her new location, having had no contact with her in recent days.

Tolokonnikova has been situated at a penal colony in Mordovia, about 280 miles southeast of Moscow, where she had repeatedly complained about prison conditions. In September, Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike to protest her alleged abuse from prison staff, the Associated Press reported.


Her husband, Petya Verzilov, said he was last informed of his wife's whereabouts Oct. 21 before she was transferred out of the Mordovia penal colony. The BBC reported that three days later, Tolokonnikova was spotted by a train passenger en route to a different prison near the city of Chelyabinsk, in the Ural mountains.

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"We think they moved her to a big city to hide her," Tolokonnikov's father Andrei Tolokonnikov told Buzzfeed.com. "It seems they got sick of these protests."

Tolokonnikov's husband told the online news source that he believed the government moved his wife because "They want to cut her off from the outside world."

Tolokonnikova had been temporarily moved in September from the Mordovia penal camp to a prison medical facility due to her worsening health because of her self-imposed hunger strike.

Tolokonnikova was arrested in February 2012 after she and four other Pussy Riot members performed a crude protest concert in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

The politically active band is perceived by many in Russia as being anti-religious. It is known for promoting Lesbian and Gay rights while being vehemently opposed to Russia's President Vladimir Putin, who they have labeled a dictator.

The women reportedly targeted the cathedral because of the Orthodox Church leader's support for Putin during his recent election campaign. They reportedly performed the song – "Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!" inside the cathedral which they then converted into a music video.

Tolokonnikova and another member, Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism for their Christ the Savior performance. The two activists received two-year sentences for the crime.

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