Incarcerated Pussy Riot star Maria Alekhina is planning to stage a theatre production for fellow inmates at the prison where she is serving her sentence. The punk star was jailed for two years in 2012 after staging a musical protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow.
She has been a vocal critic of conditions at the remote labour camp in the Ural Mountains where she is being held, and even went on hunger strike earlier this year (13) in protest at the conditions, but now Alekhina is trying to curry favour with prison officials so they will allow her to organise a stage show.
She is also planning to write a book about her time behind bars.
Alekhina tells NME magazine, "Recently, I spend all my time thinking of how to make life in the camp more interesting - we're trying to get an agreement to do some theatre performances. We need permission from the camp governor. That's my plan right now.
"I'm also going to try, if it's possible, to write about life in the camp. It's just that the timetable here is pretty intense, and in general we have very little free time. But if I can find the time, I'm going to use it to write...
"I'm trying to smooth relations with everyone - if I manage it, it'll be wonderful. I'm a bit tired of fighting them constantly."
Alekhina is one of three Pussy Riot members who attracted headlines around the world when they were arrested and jailed.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is also still behind bars but their bandmate Yekaterina Samutsevich was freed in October (12) when her sentence was commuted.
Members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have jetted to London to attend a music festival curated by singer/artist Yoko Ono. Three members of the feminist collective were sentenced to prison stints last summer (12) after being found guilty of hooliganism following a performance of a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church.
Yekaterina Samutsevich has since been freed, while fellow bandmembers Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are still behind bars.
John Lennon's widow Ono invited another pair of musicians from Pussy Riot to attend her Activism Weekend at this year's (13) Meltdown festival and admits she was impressed by their bravery as they spoke out on behalf of their jailed bandmates.
She says, "It was so important. It shows that rebellion and revolution is (sic) worldwide actually. It's actually much harder for them (to speak out) in Russia. What they're doing to stand up is extremely daring and courageous. I just met the two of them here - incredible power, I thought the incredible power of innocence, in a way, is beautiful."
Speaking to reporters about their imprisoned bandmates' plight, the duo wore balaclavas and asked for their voices to be disguised to retain their anonymity.
One star told the BBC, "(They) are still in detention camps. According to the verdict, they are supposed to be there until March 2014, but we'll do our best to get them released earlier. Where they are now in detention camps there are about 100-120 people in one big room so the conditions are very bad and it's just a work camp, a forced labour camp."
French actor Gerard Depardieu is planning to apply for an Algerian passport to go with his French and Russian ones - and he aims to own travel documents from seven different nations. The Green Card star was granted Russian citizenship by President Vladimir Putin in December (12) after leaving his native country over a hike in the top rate of income tax to 87 per cent.
He loves having two passports as it saves him time filling out visa papers, and now he wants to add to his haul by applying for travel documents from Algeria and other nations.
Depardieu tells Le Journal du Dimanche, "I would like to have seven passports. (I'm a) free man and a citizen of the world."
He also denied he left France purely to avoid paying a high tax rate, adding, "I didn't flee from the tax man. I just said that at my age, 87 per cent was too much."
Movie tough guy Steven Seagal has been credited with helping to set up a key meeting between U.S. politicians and Russian lawmakers to aid the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing. Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who led the delegation to Russia, reveals he turned to his action star pal for help as the Under Siege actor has been an unlikely pal of Russian President Vladimir Putin for the past 10 years.
Seagal's connections enabled the group of six U.S. politicians to set up a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin to discuss the suspects involved in the 15 April (13) blast, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan, who spent six months in southern Russia last year (12).
Rohrabacher tells ABC News, "We are very appreciative of the help he (Seagal) has given this congressional delegation to make sure we accomplished our mission...
"I don't know if (Rogozin) would have been available to us without Steven actually suggesting that he do that. We are very pleased that he opened up some doors for us so we could have some very high level discussions."
However, the California representative admits the meetings did little to shed new light on the investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who died in a shoot out with Massachusetts police days after the bombing: "There is nothing specific that could've been done that we can point to that, had it been done differently, would've prevent this (attack)."
Two members of Russian punk group Pussy Riot have lost their bid for freedom after a court upheld their convictions on hooliganism charges. Rockers Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are both behind bars serving two-year prison sentences for performing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow last year (12).
Their bandmate Yekaterina Samutsevich was released when her conviction was commuted in October (12), but Alekhina and Tolokonnikova have lost their bid for freedom after taking their appeal to Moscow's highest court.
The application was denied on Wednesday (29May13), according to the Associated Press, but a lawyer for the stars has vowed not to give up the fight to free the women.
Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney are among the stars who have voiced their support for Pussy Riot and urged Russian authorities to release them.
Sir Paul McCartney has written letters to Russian authorities to personally request they free two jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot. Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were sentenced to two years at tough labour camps last year (12) for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at a church in Moscow.
Both women have applied for release on parole, but Tolokonnikova's request was rejected last month (Apr13) and Alekhina has begun a hunger strike from behind bars after she was refused permission to attend her parole hearing this week (beg20May13).
Now The Beatles legend McCartney, who has previously expressed his support for the controversial band, has personally written two letters to officials in Russia to plead for mercy for the jailed pair.
In a note referring to Alekhina, he writes, "My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world. In the great tradition of fair-mindedness which the Russian people (many of whom are my friends) are famous for, I believe that you granting this request would send a very positive message to all the people who have followed this case."
In his letter about Tolokonnikova, he adds, "I have had a long relationship with the Russian people, and, with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people - all people, with compassion and kindness."
A third Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed on appeal in October (12) when her two-year sentence was commuted.
French actor Gerard Depardieu is set to start work on his first Russian movie project after abandoning his homeland over a tax hike on wealthy citizens. The Green Card star was granted citizenship and a Russian passport from President Vladimir Putin when he quit France in December (12) over its government's plan to set the tax rate for country's elite at 75 per cent.
Depardieu revealed he was eager to film a new movie in his adopted homeland, and he has stuck to his promise by starting work on a crime thriller called Turquoise.
The actor will play a gangster, while British actress Elizabeth Hurley has been hired to play his lover.
Announcing the project on Twitter.com, Hurley writes, "This week's been frantic: prepping for a new movie I start next week in Russia with Gerard Depardieu..."
The production will be shot in Russia's capital Moscow and Grozny, the capital of Chechnya where Depardieu now has a home.
Jailed Pussy Riot star Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has lodged a formal complaint about inhumane living conditions in the labour camp where she is serving a two-year jail sentence. The Russian rocker is demanding officials visit Penal Colony No. 14 in Mordovia for a formal inspection as she alleges the facility has poor sanitation, fire safety issues, and that prisoners' rights are routinely violated.
Her official grievance has been forwarded to the Mordovian Prosecutor Generals Office for a ruling. The move by Tolokonnikova comes just weeks after she lost her request for parole last month (Apr13).
Tolokonnikova and her Pussy Riot bandmate Maria Alekhina are serving two-year sentences for hooliganism after performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church last year (12).
A third Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed on appeal in October (12) when her sentence was commuted.
Kelly Osbourne has declared she will not set foot in Russia until jailed punk stars Pussy Riot are released from prison. Two members of the Russian girl group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, are currently serving two-year prison sentences for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church.
Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney are among the famous faces who have spoken out in support of the jailed musicians, and now Kelly Osbourne has thrown her weight behind a campaign to free the women.
She has even vowed not to visit Russia until the pair is released from prison.
In a post on her Twitter.com page, she writes, "I support the Vagina Riots (Pussy Riot) and will never go back to Russia until they are released!... Pussy Riots (sic) for life!"
The two jailed rockers are currently appealing against their convictions.
An incarcerated member of punk band Pussy Riot lost her bid for parole in Russia on Friday (26Apr13). An attorney representing Nadezhda Tolokonnikova filed an appeal at Moscow City Court demanding an early release so the musician could look after her five-year-old daughter, but on Friday (26Apr13) authorities rejected the request.
According to USA Today, the ruling was made after penal colony officials stated in a court deposition that Tolokonnikova has been "decisive, insensitive to ethics and conscience and thinking only about herself".
The 23-year-old mother argued the penal colony didn't support her appeal because she "didn't repent".
Tolokonnikova and her bandmate Maria Alekhina have been trying to win their freedom after they were jailed for two years in 2012 for performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church.
A third member of the punk collective, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was freed on appeal in October (12) when her sentence was suspended.