Lawmakers on Pussy Riot Visit: ‘These Women Are Indeed Heroes’

May 7, 2014 - 1:22 PM

Pussy Riot

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced feminist punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina, left, and Nadya Tolokonnikova at a press conference on Capitol Hill on May 6, 2014. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNew.com) – Two members of the feminist punk band “Pussy Riot” were called “heroes” at a press conference with members of Congress on Capitol Hill on Tuesday where the women met with lawmakers about human rights abuses in Russia.

“These women are indeed heroes to our people around the globe,” Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) said at the press conference. “They’ve stood in the face of danger.

“They’ve lost their liberty, and their lives I think are still imperiled,” Cohen said.

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina – two members of about a dozen women in the protest band who served time after being convicted in 2012 of hooliganism after desecrating Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a Russian Orthodox church, by dancing and chanting obscenities on its altar – met privately with members from the House and the Senate ahead of the press conference.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said he wanted to “commend these two and others they represent for the extraordinary courage that they’ve shown in Russia and to come abroad and talk about these human rights violations.

 

Pussy Riot

Maria Alyoukhina, left, and Nadya Tolokonnikova, members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot were on Capitol Hill on May 6, 2014 to discuss human rights abuses in their native Russia. (CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

“And so, I just want to commend you for what you’ve done,” Flake said.

 

“It is my pleasure to welcome to the United States Capitol members of the Pussy Riot,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said. “We had a chance to talk with them about the conditions today in Russia, the experiences that they had, including the fact that they were arrested and sent to prison, how they had tried to help the citizens of Russia deal with the current deterioration of human rights in Russia.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) praised the women for “speaking truth to power” and that their “being here today I think speaks louder than words.

“This picture is worth a thousand words,” Blumenthal said.

The two women, speaking through a translator, encouraged Congress to put sanctions in place against Russian officials who they said are responsible for human rights abuses.

Both were released from prison in December, about two months ahead of their scheduled release for the two-year sentence that was imposed by the Russian court.