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Battling Putin with punk rock — Pussy Riot and the consequences of protest

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Loudmouths.

The feminist punk music group, Pussy Riot, is a symbol of resistance against Vladimir Putin's regime. Co-founder Nadya Tolokonnikova tells the story of her arrest and her ongoing fight for a freer Russia.

About Nadya Tolokonnikova

Nadya Tolokonnikova is a founding member of Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist protest art collective which now counts hundreds of people among its numbers.

In 2012, artist Nadya Tolokonnikova gained global recognition and attention — and was sentenced to two years in prison — following "Punk Prayer," an anti-Putin performance pieceshe and conspirators staged inside a cathedral in Moscow. She started a hunger strike protesting the conditions in which she was being held and was ultimately sent to a Siberian penal colony before being released in December 2013. Tolokonnikova was declared a "foreign agent" by Russia in 2021.

She is also a co-founder of the independent news service and media outlet Mediazonaand, as co-founder of UnicornDAO, was instrumental in raising more than 7 million dollars in Ukraine aid. She has spoken before the U.S. Congress, British Parliament and European Parliament. She is the author of Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism.

This segment of the TED Radio Hour was produced by James Delahoussaye and edited by Sanaz Meshkinpour. You can follow us on Facebook @TEDRadioHourand email us at TEDRadioHour@npr.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manoush Zomorodi
Manoush Zomorodi is the host of TED Radio Hour. She is a journalist, podcaster and media entrepreneur, and her work reflects her passion for investigating how technology and business are transforming humanity.
James Delahoussaye
Sanaz Meshkinpour