Pussy Riot’s NFT Art Sparks Russian Criminal Charges

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This week, Pussy Riot faced another explosion of controversy, once again making headlines. This time, Russian authorities cite that the group’s non-fungible token (NFT) art is “hurting the religious feelings” of its citizens.

Quick Takes: 

  • Russian authorities target Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova over creating NFT art that “offends religious citizens”.
  • The NFT, “Virgin Mary, Please Become a Feminist,” features the Christian figure amidst explicit imagery on top of a copy of Tolokonnikova’s 2012 arrest documents.
  • In the face of charges, Tolokonnikova — who is highly involved in the UkraineDAO project — remains defiant, stating that “art is [her] weapon”.
Pussy Riot burning a 10 x 10-foot portrait of Putin

Controversy Behind Russian Authorities and Pussy Riot

Prominent artist and activist Nadya Tolokonnikova — the representative and vocal force behind Pussy Riot — has been included in a list of sought-after individuals by the Russian Interior Ministry.

The Russian feminist protest and performance art group based in Moscow took to Twitter to share the news:

Russian authorities are claiming Tolokonnikova of “causing offense” to religious citizens due to her artwork on the “Virgin Mary, Please Become a Feminist” NFT. The digital asset portrays the Christian figure surrounded by what the criminal citation refers to as “female external genitalia’s anatomical details,” according to a translation provided by Pussy Riot.

Making matters even more controversial, the illustration overlays on top of a copy of Tolokonnikova’s 2012 arrest documents. The documents include information about Pussy Riot’s protest in 2012, “Punk Prayer”. The event took place in a Moscow church to document as a short film. Consequently, Pussy Riot faced “hooliganism” charges, and Tolokonnikova served over two years in a prison camp.

Moreover, last year, Pussy Riot created an event where women across Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian got together to burn a 10 x 10-foot portrait of Putin. They then performed rituals and spells to “chase Putin away”.

Tolokonnikova is also the face behind UkraineDAO. The Decentralized Autonomos Organization (DAO) that sold an NFT of the Ukrainian flag for more than $6 million to support Ukrain’s resistance and relief efforts. 

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