02/05/2014 03:06 pm ET Updated Apr 07, 2014

Pussy Riot Women Travel Around the World to Promote Justice Zone and "Inspect Prisons"

This will be about Nadia Tolokonnikova, but ... without the stories about "the underwear with pockets" for memory flash cards. During Pussy Riot protests: If women got arrested, they hid the video memory cards in a pocket in their underwear so police would not find it.

Nadia and Maria have been in the Paris, Amsterdam, Ireland, Sweden and the United States. They are participating in the Amnesty International Project on Human Rights. They represent the Russian organization "Justice Zone," which protects the rights of inmates not only in Russia but throughout the world.

What kind of person would I want Nadia to be in the coming years? Princess Diana. Princess Diana struggled with mines. Nadia and Maria go around the world and "inspect prisons."

They can be engaged in many different projects. Famous people do useful social projects. If Nadia even only talks to people about what she is doing, it is a lot already, because it so happened that people listen to this young woman everywhere.

Of course, the basis is the human rights organization "Justice Zone" aimed at protecting the rights of all prisoners. And not just political but all prisoners, because all prisoners are people. And their rights are violated in Russia. And not only in Russia, in the United States, Latin America, Africa. The amount of possible projects is huge.

Possibly Nadia and Maria Alekhina will be able to bring to their public work an element of a performance; they may build it as a chain of protests. It will be easier for the world to take it from women who staged dancing at the cathedral in Moscow, rather than from someone surrounded by paperwork or who sermonize everyone.

Nadia and Masha will keep saying for years "We are no longer Pussy Riots but in history, they will remain Pussy Riot. What was the scariest and the most wonderful moments in these years after Nadia's arrest? There was uncertainty. It was unclear how far villainy and revenge of the authorities and patriarchy will go. Will people try to incite prison administration against Nadia? As you know, people are killed in Russian prisons. I even advised Nadia to behave quietly and not to fight and protest in the prison because I thought it is counterproductive.

But I was wrong. Nadia has illustrated this in her letter from prison to on September 23, 2013, and her subsequent hunger strike in response to statements of the prison chief that he will kill her. He said: "It won't get worse, because there is nothing to complain about in the afterlife." (Comment by editor, you can read complete letter here:


Someone jokingly called me the most famous dad in Russia. Am I involved in the project of Pussy Riot? Nobody is involved or is behind Pussy Riot. They are self taught ninjas. This is a creative of artistic young feminists.

If relevant people should be named who have clearly promoted the Pussy Riot project, it is the immutable Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill, Father Vsevolod Chaplin & Co., meaning the people who trumpeted to the world that the girls are very bad. And all wondered, why?

The Pussy Riot group was established on the ruins of the group Voine (War), after a split and practically, they ceaseed protest activity. Nadia was not satisfied with stopping the group's activity. She was not ready to retire and immigrate, so to speak, as happened to a group Voina of St. Petersburg.

Nadia is ambitious and wanted to make a career. She said she wants to be, for example, as Lady Gaga, speaking out. I thought it was nonsense. But now that Nadia Tolokonnikova became as famous as Lady Gaga, I do not think it is nonsense.

Nadia writes about herself in the prison diaries that she is "led by the spirit." Because it has brought results, we would have to say in her case, it is true. As far as my involvement with Pussy Riot, I created the phrase,"Holy shit" (for the songs of Pussy Riot) and at that point, it seems that my contribution to world culture, unfortunately, was exhausted. But it is a significant contribution.

We were on the subway with Nadia, and she said that they were going to arrange the next protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and that it will be dedicated to all officials who were atheists. She then quickly regrouped and it became true believers. These were Russian officers, officers of the KGB, who have "earned" their wealth on the export and import of fish, cigarettes, vodka and oil in the 90s. How much did they "earn?" It depends who!


So what are the secrets of Nadia's education whose results some love, others hate, but 90 percent are just jealous? Nadia was always an "A" student. Nadia is a perfectionist, and maybe because of that fact, when later they developed and conducted the Pussy Riot protests, they paid attention to details and achieved results. They had to pick the right place and time and the correct accents for each protest. Any improvisation during the stage of preparation would have led to the action being "kindled," i.e., someone would tell the police about the preparation of a protest and police would take action.


In May 2011 when Nadia came up with an action/protest for group Voina, the protest was called "Pioneers (girls and boys scouts) make fires around the Kremlin." Fabric is stretched on poles folded as a tripod with a height of about five meters. The cloth is moistened with kerosene and ignited. And in the night sky, with the walls and towers of the Kremlin in the background, it would look awesome! But the action was "kindled." When we came to the Kremlin, we saw a huge number of police dressed in a civilian clothes in cars waiting to take back detainees.

It is a pity that on the Internet, you can only see reports of the successful actions/protests. Even in failed protests, there is so much charm and lessons. When they were planning their protest, they missed one small detail: the photographer of Novaya Gazeta who went to the rehearsal of "fires" in Izmailovo Park laid out on a computer (not on the Internet) photo of fire rehearsals. The FSB entered her computer virtually and through a special program, apparently based on Skype and saw these photos. This had not been taken into account by Nadia. Even nerd Nadia missed it!

She had worked in group Voina for four years, and everything was always done in strictest secrecy! A story was once told about amazing technical capabilities of special services. FSB agent asked one participant of feminist group Femen, "If you want, I'll show you your apartment in Ukraine," and they were in another country. She said, "Really?" He asked "Is your laptop in Ukraine open?" " Yes," she said, and the Russian officer shows on his iPhone screen her apartment in Ukraine, even though her laptop in Ukraine is not only disconnected to the Internet but is in sleep mode.


Here is a paragraph from the prison diary of Nadia from March 2012. Notice how much drive is in it! Maybe there is not enough of it in Russia? Nadia writes, "We are not the Messiah, but who knows? Maybe Pussy Riot is a sign that a new time is approching in the spiritual history of mankind -- the century of freedom as predicted by Russian religious philosopher, Nikolai Berdyaev.

This freedom follows grace; grace follows lawfulness. Maybe acceptance of the rights and freedoms as priority vectors in Western policy in the 20th Century was beginning with the Pussy Riot protest in Russia."

Andrey Tolokonnikova, M.D., father of recently released Pussy Riot prisoner, Nadia Tolokonnikova, shares with The Huffington Post excerpts from his journal following his daughter's release from a Siberian prison. Nadia was freed on Dec. 23, 2013 under an amnesty bill passed by the Russian parliament after serving 21 months. Translated by Natasha Fissiak, a producer of the documentary Free Pussy Riot!