Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pussy Riot members tell Congress of rights abuses, want US to sanction more Russian officials

Russian political activists Nadya Tolokonnikova, center, and Maria Alyokhina, left, of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, join Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the chairman of the Helsinki Commission in seeking action to stop violations of human rights by pro-Russian militants in the Ukraine region, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. At right is Pyotr Verzilov, Nadya Tolokonnikova's husband who helped to interpret. The political activists spent more than a year behind bars for performing songs critical of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Enlarge Image

Russian political activists Nadya Tolokonnikova, center, and Maria Alyokhina, left, of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, join Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the chairman of the Helsinki Commission in seeking action to stop violations of human rights by pro-Russian militants in the Ukraine region, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, May 6, 2014. At right is Pyotr Verzilov, Nadya Tolokonnikova's husband who helped to interpret. The political activists spent more than a year behind bars for performing songs critical of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON - Two members of the Russian dissident punk group Pussy Riot came to the Capitol Tuesday and asked members of Congress to add 16 officials to the list of Russian human rights violators who face U.S. sanctions.

Before a throng of cameras and reporters, the women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina — said Russian President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on human rights was damaging that country.

"Putin is not leading Russia to stability, but to complete instability and chaos," Tolokonnikova said through a translator.

The pair was arrested in 2012 after an obscenity-laced performance criticizing Putin at Moscow's main cathedral. They spent nearly two years in prison, but since their release have continued decrying the lack of freedom in Russia and harsh government tactics against opponents.

The women said Russia has resumed abusing prisoners, including using mandatory psychiatric treatment for some. They said they hoped public pressure would force the mistreatment to stop.

"Silence is the most dangerous thing for a political prisoner," said Tolokonnikova.

By law, the United States can freeze assets and ban travel to the U.S. of Russians deemed to be human rights abusers. Currently, 18 Russians are on a public list of people facing such sanctions while an unknown number of others are on a confidential list.

The 16 people the women want sanctioned include Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Russia's interior minister. Also on the list were officials involved in prosecuting and trying people who participated in a large Moscow rally in May 2012 and officials at the prisons where Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were incarcerated.

The two met for a half hour with lawmakers, who later lauded them as heroes. The group included Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat who chairs the U.S. Helsinki Commission, a federal panel that monitors human rights in dozens of countries.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media