Tuesday, December 24, 2013
(Undated) -- The recently-freed members of Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot say they have big plans now that they're on the right side of a jail cell. Nadya Tolokonnikova told reporters as she was leaving a Siberian prison Monday that it's time to "fasten your seat belts" because "everything is just starting." She and bandmate Maria Alyokhina -- who was also released Monday from a separate prison -- say they're now turning their attention toward human rights issues. Alyokhina tells "Rolling Stone" their organization will focus on improving the treatment of prisoners, adding that they plan to take full advantage of the "brightness and illumination of the mass media."
Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina are out of prison just three months before their two-year sentences were scheduled to end. They were convicted last year of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred after protesting Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church. Both woman continued to protest Putin almost as soon as they were released, calling the amnesty nothing but a PR stunt ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Sochi. Tolokonnikova told reporters that the line between being free and not being free is actually "very thin" in a country like Russia.