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“I Love Russia, But I Hate Putin”

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM) promotes cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and free speech.




In an interview with Spiegel, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, member of the Russian feminist punk collective, Pussy Riot, discussed the group’s political aims, why she believed there were limits to Vladimir Putin’s power, and how the “fight for our ideas and values” would continue. She said it was “not me, but the authorities who must be afraid.”

I regret nothing. I take a matter-of-fact view of our situation, and I see positives and negatives. Ultimately, I think the trial against us was important, because it showed the true face of Putin’s system. This system delivered a verdict on itself, by sentencing us to two years in prison although we committed no crime. I am glad about that.

If you are afraid of wolves, you should not go into the forest. I am fighting for my daughter to be able to grow up in a free country. Legally, the court should have been able to convict us of no more than a misdemeanor. The criminal trial is Putin’s personal revenge; no one can predict how and when an authoritarian system exacts revenge.

Our performance was not trivial. It took up the confrontation between government and society, in a religious, political and social context. The trial against us revealed the regime’s repressive character. Putin’s system is collapsing. It is not suited for the 21st century — it is something out of tribal societies and dictatorial regimes of the past.

Putin’s omnipotence is an illusion. That it is not a limitless thing is just as obvious as the fact that his propaganda machine exaggerates the president’s power. Putin is dependent on the West roughly to the same degree that the West has an interest in exaggerating his power. In reality, the president is small and pitiful.

We are part of the global anti-capitalist movement. Our anti-capitalism is not anti-Western or anti-European. We see ourselves as part of the West, and we are a product of European culture. Freedom is at the core of our ideology, and our concept of freedom is a Western one. This is a fight for the right definition of freedom.

Our goal is in fact a divide, but not of the opposition. We want to rouse the part of society that has remained politically apathetic and has preferred not to work actively for civil rights, but rather to stay comfortably at home. What we see right now is a divide between the government and a silent majority of Russians.



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