General News

Russian punk stars land arts award nod

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Jan 17, 2014 | 6:00am EST

Members of controversial Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot have been nominated for an arts award in Singapore. Three members of the group hit headlines around the world in 2012 when they were jailed for two years for staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The trio is now free from prison and campaigning for improved conditions in Russian jails, and their high-profile human rights struggle has been honoured by organisers of an arts awards ceremony in Singapore. The group has been nominated in the digital/video category at the Prudential Eye Awards, which are due to be handed out on Saturday (18Jan14). Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was freed in December (13), insists the honour helps to highlight the band's campaign and sarcastically suggests Russian leaders should share the award. She says, "We are talking about our work with media - how to take a single thought and spread it across the world. That is what we did in co-operation with the Russian state... This award is not only for us but for the whole political system that exists in Russia today." Her bandmate Maria Alekhina adds, "If nothing of what happened to us after that action had happened, there might have never been any nomination. And here we should pay tribute to the Russian state." Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were freed in December (13). A third Pussy Riot member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released in October, 2012 when her sentence was commuted.

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