Peter Gets Bonked
November 3rd, 2023
2011, September 30th – Pussy Riot was just willed into existence by myself and Kat during a lecture on punk feminism. We didn’t find any good examples of it in russia, so we created a fictitious band, Pussy Riot – “they are doing some very excellent work”. You can watch this lecture in Tasya and Vasya’s Pussy vs Putin.
We did 2 series of public actions (each consisted of dozens of actions) “Free the cobblestones” and “Kropotkin-vodka”, and we were planning our next one. Our comrades, Peter Verzilov, Alexei Navalny, and Ilya Yashin had been arrested during an anti-putin march. They were sitting in the Moscow Special Detention center. We wanted to give them a show.
We used a step ladder to climb on top of a building across from the prison. Detainees were cheering from the windows, and banging aluminum prison cups on the bars.
“Make the cops serve liberty,
Protest bring good weather.
Occupy the squares, seize it peacefully.
Take the assault rifles away from all the cops,
Death to prison, Freedom to protest”
We all know where they are now, Navalny serving decades after being poisoned. Ilya serving in a similar 8.5 year sentence.
And what about Peter?
Which brings us to today – the court sentenced Peter, in absentia, to 8.5 years in jail for his social media posts outlining atrocities committed in Bucha. Following up on the last blog post, the absurdity of these “in absentia” arrests… the russian court didn’t take long to give another example here.
Peter recently appeared on Yury Dud’s youtube channel, probably the biggest interview channel to the russian-speaking world. The timing of the court of course is a bit suspicious – he appears on Dud, and a few weeks later sentenced in absentia to 8.5 years.
Similar things happened to me with my Putin’s Ashes show at Jeffrey Deitch earlier this year.
The show was announced, targeted anti-putin, we burned an effigy of putin and celebrated his symbolic demise. Within the week the death threats and troll comments rise on my pages, soon after my instagram mysteriously removed. The show goes on, I appear in international media, and a few weeks after that it leaks that there is a new criminal case against me.
Peter was part of the art group “Voina” with me. As Kat and I wanted to do something a bit more feminist leaning, we created Pussy Riot. Once we were arrested in 2012 for the punk prayer, Peter cared for our daughter Gera, and helped organize support for our freedom.
In 2018, he did an action at the World Cup, “Policemen enters the game”. He, Olga Pahtusova, Olga Kuracheva, Nika Nikulshina, dressed as cops and jumped into the finals game. They wanted to show that in russia, you are under police control, and no one would question the authority. They proved the point as they walked directly onto the field. Putin himself watched.
A couple months later, Peter was poisoned with a nerve agent, most likely in response to this national embarrassment. We brought him to Berlin’s Charité hospital in Germany. He survived and recovered after a long coma.
Later when our friend Navalny was poisoned, their team asked us what to do. Alexei was brought to the same hospital in Berlin.
Peter is notoriously “a lot” to handle, he has the energy of a hyper puppy. There are legends of police stations being so annoyed with him, they set him free simply because they didn’t want to hear him talk anymore. His spirit was briefly eclipsed during the poisoning, this was shocking to see. But that didn’t stop him. He actually tried to get back onto the World Cup field in 2022, but was detained.
He’s been supporting Ukraine – meeting with the Pope himself to try to secure release of the soldiers in Mariupol, filming footage in Bakhmut, fundraising for drones and support for the unit he is with. He revealed on Dud, that he has a contract with the Ukrainian Defense forces.
What does this in absentia sentencing mean? As I mentioned in my last post, they do this to erase due process, if he was ever physically detained, extradited etc, they would be able to send him straight to jail, back full circle to Ilya Yashin and Alexei Navalny.
I hope for his sake, for my daughter’s sake, we don’t have to read this news and that he continues to be a nuisance to russian authorities, and more importantly support Ukraine’s fight.