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Pussy Riot: 'We had nothing to do in prison but read the Bible'

Pussy Riot: 'We had nothing to do in prison but read the Bible'

Jailed Russian punk collective Pussy Riot have spoken out about their time in prison and claimed they had been spending their time reading the Bible.

Nadia Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich received two-year prison sentences on August 17 after being found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred – and in an interview with GQ, Tolokonnikova revealed that the only text she had been able to read to stave off boredom was the Christian tome.

"Prison is a good place to learn to really listen to your own mind and your own body," she said. "I've learned to read much more deeply, for instance. For four months, I had nothing to read but the Bible, so I read it for all four months – diligently, picking everything apart."

She added: "Prison is like a monastery – it's a place for ascetic practices. After a month here, I became a vegetarian. Walking in circles for an hour in that tiny dusty yard gets you into a pretty meditative state as well. We don't get much in the way of news. But enough to get inspired."

When asked about a report published in a Moscow newspaper which alleged that the three women had been enjoying 'VIP' treatment in prison, meanwhile, she responded: "Did Auschwitz have VIP death lounges? If yes, then I suppose you can call our conditions VIP treatment."

She also spoke about the support the band had received from the Western world, adding: "I still can't shake the feeling that I've spent the last six months acting in a big-budget movie. The amount of Western support that we got is a miracle. I believe that if Russia had independent national media, our performance would be better understood at home as well.

"Right now we're in hell here. It's hard living in a place where everyone can hate you because of something they heard on TV. That's why every gesture of support is so important and so much appreciated."

The three jailed women's case is up for appeal on October 1. Meanwhile, other members of Pussy Riot recently delivered a video message to their supporters, which you can watch below. The video features members of the collective abseiling down a wall before setting fire to an image of President Vladimir Putin.

"We've been fighting for the right to sing, to think, to criticise," they say. "To be musicians and artists ready to do everything to change our country. No matter the risks, we go on with our musical fight in Russia".

"Start the pussy riot and never stop," they conclude. "The fight for freedom is an endless battle that is bigger than life."


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