Nadya Tolokonnikova is a founding member of Pussy Riot, the feminist protest art movement known worldwide for defiant activism against the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Why you should listen

In 2012, artist Nadya Tolokonnikova gained global recognition and attention — and was sentenced to two years in prison — following “Punk Prayer,” an anti-Putin performance piece she and conspirators staged inside a cathedral in Moscow. She started a hunger strike protesting the conditions in which she was being held and was ultimately sent to a Siberian penal colony before being released in December 2013.
Tolokonnikova is a founding member of Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist protest art collective which now counts hundreds of people among its numbers. A longtime thorn in Putin’s side, she was declared a “foreign agent” by Russia in 2021. She is also a cofounder of the independent news service and media outlet Mediazona and, as cofounder of UnicornDAO, was instrumental in raising more than 7 million dollars via UkraineDAO. She has spoken before the US Congress, British Parliament and European Parliament. Among her many artistic achievements, she collaborated with Bansky on his “Dismaland” exhibition and created an immersive experience at the Saatchi Gallery in London. She is the author of Read & Riot: A Pussy Riot Guide to Activism.

Nadya Tolokonnikova’s TED talk

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