A freed member of the Pussy Riot punk band said on Friday the rockers still wanted Russian President Vladimir Putin out of power, adding she would like freed ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky to stand in elections and replace him.
“As far as Vladimir Putin is concerned, our attitude towards him has not changed,” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said alongside her bandmate Maria Alyokhina, speaking at their first news conference since their release earlier this week.
“We would still like to do what they put us in jail for. We would still like to drive him out.”
In February 2012, several members of Pussy Riot jumped around the altar of the church and attempted to sing what they called a “punk prayer” calling on the Virgin Mary to “drive Putin out.”
They said they were denouncing political ties between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church and had not wanted to offend believers.
She said she would like Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was last week released under a pardon, to run for president.
“I would very much like to invite Mikhail Borisovich to this post,” referring to the Kremlin critic who spent more than a decade in jail by his first name and patronymic.
“I am in solidarity with that,” added Alyokhina.
Asked at the news conference to describe Putin, Tolokonnikova said he was “closed, non-transparent” and “a chekist,” using a Soviet-era term for a member of security services. Earlier Friday the young women, who both have small children, arrived back in Moscow after reuniting in Siberia.
Alyokhina, 25, had already passed through Moscow after being released from her prison colony on her way to meet Tolokonnikova, 24 just after her release from detention in Siberia.
Their release two months early from their two-year prison terms came after an amnesty backed by Putin. After the stunt at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 31, were identified, later arrested and in August 2012 found guilty on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
Samutsevich was released in October after being given a suspended sentence, but a Moscow city court upheld on appeal the two-year prison camp terms for Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina.
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