The Interpreter

A special project of Institute of Modern Russia
Photo: @gruppa_voina

Pussy Riot Attacked with Whips by Cossacks in Sochi

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, along with several other performers, activists and journalists, have been attacked by Cossack paramilitary police while attempting a protest performance in Sochi this afternoon (RT has removed their video so we have replaced it with video from the Associated Press).

The group attempted once again, having been detained yesterday, to perform a song called “Putin will teach you how to love the motherland”. Having run to the site of a large hoarding bearing the Sochi Olympic banner, they hurriedly put on their masks and began an un-amplified performance. Almost immediately, Coassack guards, who act as paramilitary law enforcers in the area, began attacking both the performers and journalists with heavy whips and pepper spray. The act seemed to have been purely aimed at intimidation and repression of dissent as the group were not arrested after they were dispersed. Beatings however continued as journalists, at least one of the performers and other activists were whipped and pushed around further away from the location of the performance. Police officers only appeared later on.

Petr Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s husband and the activist behind the @gruppa_voina twitter account was hospitalised as a result of the attack, having lost his eyesight due to the pepper spray.

Photo: @djavik
Photo: @djavik

One of the activists following the beating.