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Imprisoned Pussy Riot Member Reportedly Missing

From outward appearances, it would seem the Russian government is weary of all the negative publicity still being generated worldwide by punk feminist collective Pussy Riot in general, and outspoken imprisoned member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in particular. Reports are surfacing that Tolokonnikova has gone off the grid during a transfer out of the penal colony where she was serving time. Family members told Buzzfeed that they have not known of her whereabouts in the prison system since October 21.

Tolokonnikova, 23, has continued to generate international attention by her continued outspokenness and defiance behind bars, staging two hunger strikes last month and writing an open letter deploring the poor, “slave-like” conditions in the labor colony where she was being held. Petya Verizlov, her husband, expressed a belief that the Moscow authorities have moved her secretly to “cut her off from the outside world,” possibly in response to continued protests outside the prison and the prison hospital staged by Verizlov and others, as well as the protests from Tolokonnikova herself.

“Officials intend to teach Nadia a lesson for her protest behavior even behind the bars,” Verizlov told The Daily Beast.

Extended “disappearances” of prison inmates while “in transit” are still common in the Russian prison system, a questionable practice lingering from the gulag era. “This is how the system makes a person disappear without a trace for weeks,” says Verizlov.

Tolokonnikova’s father, Andrei, also expressed concern to Buzzfeed about her well-being. ““There’s no proof she’s alive, we don’t know the state of her health. Is she sick? Has she been beaten?”

Tolokonnikova is one of three members of Pussy Riot who were convicted in 2012 of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after protesting Vladimir Putin in a church in Moscow. One of the three had her sentence suspended in October 2012 and was released on probation. Tolokonnikova and the third member, Maria Alyokhina, are both scheduled for release in March 2014.

(Photo: Denis Bochkarev/Wikimedia)


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About the Author

on MUSIC IS MY OXYGEN WEEKLY.

David Tillman is an independent composer/arranger whose primary work involves writing jingles for commercials for radio and television, with several film and television placements to his credit as well. David has a fascination for all things related to the music business and the music industry in general, an obsession which his wife finds to be mildly unhealthy at times. His personal tastes in music are in electronica and industrial rock, and include The Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk and Nine Inch Nails (he loves that Trent Reznor is writing soundtracks!). When not in his office or in his man-cave, David enjoys skiing, hiking, the occasional game of golf, and sometimes just lounging by the pool. David lives with his wife and three children in Los Angeles, CA.

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