pussy riot's nadya arrested for sewing machine protest

Armed with a sewing machine, the punk activist took to central Moscow planning to sew a Russian flag in symbolic protest against oppressive labor conditions before Russian police hauled her into detention.

by Emily Manning
|
Jun 12 2015, 4:35pm

Photography Evgeny Feldman

This afternoon in central Moscow's Bolotnaya Square, Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova teamed up with fellow activist Katya Nenasheva in attempts to stage a performance protesting inhumane prison labor practices. Dressed in prison uniforms with handwritten serial numbers, the pair arrived armed with sewing machines and strips of white, red, and blue fabric which they planned to sew together to create a symbolic Russian flag. But as soon as they began laying out the project, Russian police arrived and dragged them into a detention bus.

These oppressive conditions are all too familiar to Nadya, who spent almost two years subjected to forced labor in prison camps after she and fellow Pussy Riot members were arrested for their punk performance protesting Putin's reelection inside Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. While in custody on the bus, Nadya and Katya posted about the plight female prisoners face on Facebook, urging readers not to be afraid to take action and shared photos from inside the bus.

"Nobody cares about this social group," Nadya wrote aboard the detention bus, profiling the myriad difficulties women face both in the prison industrial complex and emerging from it: "Women experience enormous psychological difficulties - in addition to difficulties in finding a job - a disorientation in space, tightness in communication, lack of knowledge of the current social climate. This fear is already a new world for them...the fear of aggression and the next wave of condemnation," the English translation reads.

Earlier this year, i-D spoke to Nadya and fellow Pussy Rioter Masha Alyokhina about the release of their first English-language song, I Can't Breathe, a reference to Eric Garner's death by police in Staten Island. "The boundaries of freedom and lack of freedom today is very conditional," Nadya's Facebook post continued. "It is time to share each other's names."

Credits


Text Emily Manning
Photography Evgeny Feldman

Tagged:
Culture
russia
activism
protest
PUSSY RIOT