The Interpreter

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

Sochi Liveblog: Pussy Riot Arrests

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot have been detained in Sochi while preparing for a demonstration. They have been detained as suspects for a “theft” in their hotel. The two were planning to perform a song called Putin Will Teach You To Love Your Motherland but were arrested “with force” along with several other activists, and taken to Adler police station. The detention is in fact the third during the last few days, however this is the first time they have been arrested and loaded into a police van. Two separate detentions occurred on the mornings of the 16th and the 17th.   UPDATES TO FOLLOW


1850 GMT: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova posted the following on Twitter:

At the emergency ward. Our bruises and scratches were recorded with disdain. We’ve been referred to deputy chief Ogrutsov of the Sochi Department of Internal Affairs.

1740 GMT: Photographer Yevgeny Feldman describes the police arrests and interrogations in a video on The Guardian


1524 GMT: Police in Sochi have issued a statement on the interrogation this morning of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina. “In view of inquiries we have received regarding citizens N. Tolokonnikova and M. Alyokhina, as well as other citizens who were interrogated in Adler police station, we can report that they were interrogated in connection with complaints received from the hotel in which they are staying, concerning an incident of theft. Alongside N. Tolokonnikova and M. Alyokhina, all citizens staying at the hotel were interrogated.”


1512 GMT: CNN confirm that the group has been released from the police station.

Photo: @gruppa_voina
Photo: @gruppa_voina

1348 GMT: The New Republic’s Julia Ioffe has spoken to a lawyer for Pussy Riot:

Pussy Riot had come down to Sochi to do a performance piece called “Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland.” “The police didn’t know how to neutralize them, so they made up a theft in the hotel,” a local lawyer told me as he drove to the station to which the Pussy Rioters were being driven.

Ioffe also translated a tweet from opposition leader Alexei Navalny:

“How stupid do you have to be to arrest Pussy Riot in Sochi during the Olympics?” opposition leader Alexei Navalny tweeted. “There is no Ketchum in the world that can help you on this one.”

Ketchum is a PR company that has worked for the Kremlin. The Interpreter translated an interview of a former member of Ketchum who spoke to The New Times in December. Read it here.


1342 GMT: Verzilov has just tweeted this from Adler police station, we’re awaiting more details. “Released!”

 


1315 GMT: A crowd of journalists and supporters is gathering outside the Adler police station where the activists are being held.

Photo: @gruppa_voina
Photo: @gruppa_voina

1309 GMT: Alexei Navalny summarises what many are thinking right now:

 

Look, what sort of idiots do you have to be to arrest Pussy Riot in Sochi during the Olympics? There’s nothing the Ketchum agency can do to help here.

 


1231 GMT: News of the arrest first came from a tweet by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova:

“Arrested in the Sochi Seaport area on suspicion of a criminal offence.” @gruppa_voina, Pyotr Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s husband followed up with a photo and more details:

“BREAKING. Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and their team were arrested by the Border Department of the FSB, and then by the police and the Sochi criminal investigative department.” The two were then loaded into a police van and driven to Adler Station.

Photo: @tolokno
Photo: @tolokno
Photo: @MashaAlekhina
Photo: @MashaAlekhina
Photo: @tolokno
Photo: @tolokno

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova wrote that

They dragged me face down on the parquet flooring through the assembly hall offices, twisted my hands and threw me on the floor. Putin will teach you to love the motherland!

 

She followed up that she and the other detainees will complain of this to the Investigative Committee. Maria Alyokhina described similar treatment:

Dragged up the stairs in the investigator’s office, everyone has bruises.