2016 Free Expression Awards

Pussy Riot

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, member of Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot

Arts and Entertainment Award honoree

Feminist punk rock protest group Pussy Riot introduced the world to a new kind of activism with its provocative performances and music videos. In 2012, the Russian group rose to international prominence when three of its members were arrested after staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow cathedral. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were convicted of hooliganism and spent nearly two years in prison. The third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on a suspended sentence two months after her arrest. Since then, Pussy Riot has continued to use music and activism to fight for freedom of expression, LGBT rights and prison reform.