Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina know how to disarm. The first questioner at yesterday’s screening of Pussy vs. Putin at the Harmony Gold Theater shouted increasingly hostile comments/queries that ended with the clearly largely rhetorical question, “How do you define political prostitution?” It’s a time-honored tactic against women who venture outside of prescribed boundaries: Call them whores. In fact, it’s a charge made against Pussy Riot in the documentary that had just aired: “We are against the propaganda of whoredom.” But rather than taking offense at what seemed like an inquisition, not an inquiry, Nadya seized the moment and made it her own.
“I particularly like your second question,” she responded with enthusiasm, not resentment. “Political prostitution is when thugs are hired by the government to attack two young women who are trying to visit prisoners, as happened to us.” Continue reading