Pussy Riot to speak at the Union

Colm Murphy and Ciara Berry 22 October 2014

The feminist punk group Pussy Riot are going to be speaking at the Union.

The Tab revealed that the famous protest girls, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina, are coming to Cambridge on November 15 2014.

Pussy Riot are famous for releasing an expletive-ridden music video in 2012 lacerating Vladimir Putin. They also criticised the established Orthodox Church by staging a performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. For their political protest, under the charge of hooliganism, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina were arrested and sentenced to two years imprisonment. Their incarceration provoked widespread condemnation in the West, and Amnesty International notably campigned for their release.

After having served 21 months in jail, they were released on December 13 2013. Pussy Riot have since performed at the Sochi Winter Olympics, where they were attacked with pepper spray.

Pussy Riot recently spoke at another prestigious university, Harvard, on September 15. After their discussion, the band released an open letter on Facebook to Harvard's President, Professor Faust. They expressed concern that a Harvard alumni and member of the discussion group, Roman Torgovitsky, had been arrested on campus and banned from the university grounds, as a result of confronting a Russian singer, Vladimir Spivakov, over his support of President Putin.

The letter ended with a call for the university to "enter into a dialogue with civil-society activists, and in particular with Roman Torgovitsky".

Commenting on the latest Union announcement, CUSU Women’s officer Amelia Horgan said: “This is very exciting news, especially for an institution that tends to invite old, white men.”

Speaking on Twitter, Union President Tim Squirrell was triumphant. He said, "You want a @cambridgeunion headliner who isn't a white male actor? How about Pussy Riot?."