One year ago, Yekaterina Samutsevich felt elated and excited. Moscow had exploded in an unexpected storm of protests, as tens of thousands took to the streets to show their anger at Putin’s upcoming return to the presidency.
Samutsevich and a group of friends went to protest dutifully, and returned home to put on balaclavas and bright dresses for a secretly planned performance by the band Pussy Riot.
A year later, although anger at Putin remains high, the spirit of protest that rocked Moscow has halted. Also, two of Samutsevich’s best friends Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are in prison. Pussy Riot rose to international prominence when three members of the controversial group were arrested for “hooliganism” and sentenced to two years in prison as a result of a protest performance that the group staged at Moscow’s Cathedral.
Two months later, Samutsevich was let out on appeal after taking on a new lawyer who argued she should be set free since she was kicked out of the church before the performance.
Samutsevich’s days are filled with interviews, keeping Pussy Riot’s message alive in the press. There are the endless court cases, requiring almost daily filing of documents, lawyer consultations, hearings.
The desire to continue Pussy Riot’s blend of art, music and protest still burns, but Samutsevich recognises that times have changed.