Co-Founder of Russian Feminist Group ‘Pussy Riot’ to Speak at Hopkins

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Poster via JHU Foreign Affairs Symposium

One of the original members of the internationally known Russian punk collective Pussy Riot is making a timely appearance in Baltimore this week.

Almost five years ago, Nadya Tolokonnikova and two other artists from the punk band and guerrilla art collective Pussy Riot were arrested on “hooliganism” charges for holding an anti-Vladimir Putin show inside a historic Moscow church. During her imprisonment, Tolokonnikova was hospitalized after she went on a hunger strike and was later sent to another prison in Siberia. After serving nearly two years of her sentence, which drew international attention to Putin’s punishment of his dissidents, Tolokonnikova was set free.

This week, the Pussy Riot co-founder will be stopping by Johns Hopkins University to speak at the school’s Foreign Affairs Symposium, per the JHU Hub. She’s the first in the lineup for the “Undercurrent”-themed speaker series. Guests from last year’s series included NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, journalist Ezra Klein and “Orange is the New Black” author and activist Piper Kerman.

Tolokonnikova should have plenty to talk about in our current political climate. In addition to having protested the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi to draw attention to the Putin administration’s record of human rights abuses, she also starred in Pussy Riot’s October 2016 music video about our new president last year. The song, “Make America Great Again,” is a brutal condemnation of Donald Trump’s close relationship with Putin and Russia’s actions abroad. She is also appearing less than two weeks after millions of women around the world, including thousands of Marylanders, marched in solidarity against Trump.

Interest is already sky high for the event, which takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at Shriver Hall starting at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, though reserved seating ($23) was already sold out by Saturday afternoon. Foreign Affairs Symposium staff couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about whether additional seating will be available on Wednesday.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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