Support The Moscow Times!

Pussy Riot Member Jailed on Suspicion of ‘Disrupting’ Euro 2020

Veronika Nikulshina’s arrest comes three years after she ran onto the pitch during the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Russia. Yevgeny Razumnyi / Vedomosti / TASS

A member of Russian activist group Pussy Riot has been jailed Thursday on suspicion of planning to disrupt the ongoing 2020 UEFA European Football Championship in St. Petersburg.

Veronika Nikulshina’s arrest comes three years after she and three fellow activists ran onto the pitch during the 2018 FIFA World Cup final hosted in Russia to protest human rights abuses in the country. They were handed 15-day jail terms for the high-profile disruption.

On Thursday, a Moscow court found Nikulshina guilty of disobeying police orders and ruled to jail her for 15 days.

According to the court transcript, “Nikulshina refused to go to a police station for questioning about her intentions to commit illegal actions related to violations of public order and safety to disrupt UEFA Euro 2020.” 

St. Petersburg is among 11 European cities to host the football championship’s matches despite recently tightened anti-coronavirus restrictions in an effort to curb a new spike in infections. The tournament opened Friday and runs until July 11.

Nikulshina was also jailed for five days last month on the same accusations of disobeying police orders. 

News reports alleged that she had been taken into custody to “prevent possible provocations” during the Victory Day parade in Red Square that Russia holds every year to commemorate Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

Feminist punk collective Pussy Riot formed in 2011 and quickly earned a reputation for eyebrow-raising guerrilla performances. 

Three of its founding members were imprisoned for two years in 2012 for a protest performance criticizing President Vladimir Putin’s ties to the Russian Orthodox Church. 

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.