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Members of the Pussy Riots talk about their life now
Members of the Pussy Riots talk about their life now -
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Naira Davlashyan

Pussy Riot on Russian music censorship: 'The only thing that should be banned is the FSB'

Euronews met with Pussy Riot members Olga Kuracheva and Veronika Nikulshina in Lyon, France, to talk about life after they protested on the World Cup field, the pressure on Russian rappers and modern youth.

What has changed for you after the World Cup match?

Veronika: "I have had a lot of changes in my professional life. I also work as a model and actress and many projects stopped communicating with me. However, it was a predictable reaction.

"Another big consequence of the action was that we are now with Peter Verzilov, another participant of Pussy Riot, and are forced to... live outside the country."

Olga: "I spent 16 days in custody. A policeman visited my mother, then after a while, another policeman arrived. That's all."

What did you feel when you ran out onto the field during the World Cup final? Weren't you scared?

Olga: "The only thing I was afraid of was that we would not succeed, that somehow the action would be prevented or we would be delayed before we could get on the field.

"But when we were on the field, it was very cool. These were 40 seconds of total happiness. I just ran around the field with the thought: "Hooray, prank succeeded!"

Veronika: "I was not scared at all. It was an absolute moment of joy. I remember it was raining. I looked up at the sky: there was some sort of lightning, I think. It was magical."

Reuters
Pussy Riot member runs across the field at the World CupReuters

How does Peter Verzilov feel after what happened to him (alleged poisoning)?

Veronika: "Peter feels good. Better and better. He really wants to return [to Russia], wants to return to work."

READ: More about Peter Verzilov's 'poisoning'

Do you miss Russia?

Veronika: "Of course, we are terribly bored and will definitely return because as [Kremlin critic] Alexey Navalny says, you need to be in the country to do something with the country. We will definitely be back very soon because I really want to go home."

Some Russian groups are now accused of 'dangerous and harmful content'. Concerts are getting cancelled and there were several detentions of artists. What do you think about it?

Veronika: "As an artist, as a modern artist, I can say that it's impossible to sing songs on "right" or "wrong" subjects. Any gesture is justified if it corresponds to the artistic value that you put into it. Any censoring is hell and total darkness. What is happening now with culture and censorship in Russia is such a setback. Is it just some kind of deep conservative swamp.

The big problem is that the gentlemen from the police and the FSB (former KGB) associate teenage sentiments with the fact that they are listening to the wrong music. Therefore, they believe that music should be banned. In fact, the only thing that should be banned is the FSB."

READ: Russian rappers defy authorities to challenge society

READ: Kremlin should take the lead on rap music, not shut it down, Putin says

Naira Davlashyan
Pussy Riot members Olga Kuracheva (L) and Veronika Nikulshina (R) talk about art, activism and youth in RussiaNaira Davlashyan

Do you think that young people today are the backbone of the protest movement?

Olga: "I would say that young people are part of the protest movement. Still, the movement is very uneven, and there are excellent human rights activists of all ages.

"I really like what is happening in Russian schools with students and schoolchildren now. They argue with conservative teachers and are able to defend their point of view.

"I hope that they are our future and that they have enough strength to fight for a beautiful Russia."

Veronika: "I'd like to add that for example, the wonderful FBK [Alexei Navalny Anti-Corruption Foundation], brought together many young people who have a lot of energy to change their country.

"For me personally, it is very pleasant what the pension reform showed. During the protests against it, many people took to the streets. There were a lot of students and teenagers.

"It was really cool and [youth] really are the engine of what is happening. The older generation, for instance, are not particularly prepared and do not really know what it means to take part in street movements and street protests."

How difficult is it to be an artist in modern Russia?

Veronika: "To be a political actionist (type of artist) and any political artist in Russia is like dancing dubstep on a gunpowder barrel: you never know when it will blow up and how hard."

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