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AS AMERICANS INCREASINGLY COME TO VIEW RUSSIA through the lens of the Putin regime's interference in U.S. electoral politics, The Andrea Mitchell Center has invited Pussy Riot co-founder NADYA TOLOKONNIKOVA to delve into the complexity of Russian politics and culture, the nature of life under authoritarianism, and the challenges facing feminist and LGBT rights movements throughout the world. In this lunchtime conversation, she will be joined by Penn Professor of Russian and East European Studies KEVIN M.F. PLATT.
NADYA TOLOKONNIKOVA is a conceptual artist and political activist from Russia. She is a founding member of the art collective Pussy Riot, focusing attention on feminism, LGBT rights and human rights violations at home and abroad. In August 2012, she was sentenced to 2 years’ imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance by Pussy Riot in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. This protest attracted international media attention and support from the likes of Peter Gabriel, Sir Paul McCartney, Madonna, Bjork and Aung San Suu Kyi. Shortly after her release in December 2013, she announced the opening of an independent news service and media outlet, MediaZona, which reports on the Russia’s courts, law enforcement and prison system. She has spoken before the US Congress, British Parliament, and European Parliament.
KEVIN M.F. PLATT works on representations of Russian history, Russian historiography, history and memory in Russia, Russian lyric poetry, and global post-Soviet Russian cultures. He is the author of Terror and Greatness: Ivan and Peter as Russian Myths (Cornell UP, 2011) and editor of Global Russian Cultures (Wisconsin UP, 2018). He is the organizer of Your Language My Ear, a periodic Russian–English poetry translation symposium that takes place at Penn. He has also edited and contributed translations to a number of books of Russian poetry in English translation, most recently Orbita: The Project (Arc Publications, 2018) and Hit Parade: The Orbita Group (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015)