Pussy Riot awarded 2023 Woody Guthrie Prize

Pussy Riot have been awarded the 2023 Woody Guthrie Prize.

The annual prize is awarded by the Woody Guthrie Center and is presented to an artist who reflects the spirit of the late folk icon by proving themselves to be “a champion for the voiceless with an understanding of how a platform can be used to shine a light on our world, showing us what needs to be fixed and how to fix it.” In 2021, it was awarded to Bruce Springsteen.

In a statement, Pussy Riot said of the win: “Today we’ve received the Woodie Guthrie prize. Woody Guthrie is a unique artist who fought against injustice and war with his songs.

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“It’s an honour for us to receive an award from Nora Guthrie, a true successor of her father’s work. At this difficult time of the horrible war that Putin started against Ukraine. We promise that we’re gunna fight against this war and Putin’s regime as loud as we can.”

A number of Pussy Riot members picked up the award in person, with Nadya Tolokonnikova adding in a remote voice message: “I wanted to thank you so much for giving Pussy Riot this award. It’s a great honor for us. I know that if we all come together, we can fight the evil. ¡No pasarán!”

A further statement from the band read: “It feels fitting to be awarded in the spirit of Woody, I think he would love pussy riot’s anti-fascist message. Usually when Pussy Riot gets added to lists, it’s not always a good thing, but we are honoured to be on this one. We don’t really do folk, but we don’t really do punk either, we simply scream and protest as loud as we can, and hope we can show others they can do the same.

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“Like woody said, any fool can make something complicated, our message is clear and simple. Anyone can be pussy riot. Riot. Riot. Resist. Oh and a quick reminder to Vladimir Putin and anyone who supports his Z regime … All you fascists are bound to lose.”

Earlier this year, Tolokonnikova was reportedly been identified on a list of Russian authorities’ “most wanted” criminal suspects.

According to the Associated Press, Tolokonnikova – a founding member of the feminist punk group, which has long been controversial in their native Russia for their incitive protests against Vladimir Putin’s regime – was first spotted in the Russian Interior Ministry’s database of criminal targets in March. The revelation reportedly came via Russian news outlet Mediazona, which was co-founded by Tolokonnikova.

It’s said that Tolokonnikova’s listing in the database shows her wanted for “criminal charges”, however these are not disclosed in any significant detail. The artist was notably jailed for more than a year after a Pussy Riot demonstration in 2012, where after performing inside the Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour in Moscow, she was arrested for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”.

This week, the band collaborated with Alice Glass and Boys Noize on new song ‘Chastity’, while they ended 2022 by calling for an end to Putin’s “terrorist regime” on Ukraine war protest song ‘Mama, Don’t Watch TV’.

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