Russia

Freed Pussy Riot Member Calls Russia a Giant Penal Colony

Says prisons are the "face of the country"

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Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who was freed Monday in a Kremlin-backed amnesty, slammed Russia's prison system and said that the whole country is built like a penal colony.

"Russia is built on the model of a penal colony and that is why it is so important to change the penal colonies today to change Russia," Tolokonnikova told journalists after her release. "Penal colonies and prisons are the face of the country."

She said she and released bandmate Maria Alyokhina will be working on a project focusing on rights of prisoners, using experience of spending a year and ten months in prison.