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Freed Pussy Riot activists still want to ‘get rid’ of Putin

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina name pardoned oil tycoon and Russia’s once wealthiest man as ideal replacement to Putin

Staff Reporter
27 December 2013, 12:00am
Maria Alyokhina and fellow Pussy Riot activist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were pardoned by Vladimir Putin


Freed members of the Pussy Riot punk band have reiterated their wish to "remove" of Russian president Vladimir Putin, days after they were given an amnesty.

Alongside the 30-member crew of a Greenpreace protest ship and former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky; Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Tolokonnikova, the two jailed members of the pussy riot rock band, were released from prison under a Kremlin amnesty 21 months into their two-year jail term.

The move by Putin appeared at easing international criticism of Russia's human rights record ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Putin's pet project.

However, Tolokonnikova, 24 and Tolokonnikova, 25, have told assembeled journalists they still intend to oust Putin.

Speaking publicly for the first time since their release, the activists said that after serving time in prison, they had become even more passionate about politics and vowed to campaign for the rights of other prisoners.

The Pussy Riot activists named pardoned Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's wealthiest man, as their political role model and the model they would like to see dethrone Putin.

The women arrived in Moscow having been reunited in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, where Tolokonnikova served the final stretch of her jail term. Alyokhina was released earlier from Nihzny Novgorod prison, 250 miles outside Moscow.

While in prison, the activists staged hunger strikes in protest at the inhumane conditions in prison. However, Tolokonnikova said that conditions had improved during her jail term, and sixteen-hour working days were a thing of the past.