Yekaterina Samutsevich

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A woman with brown hair and a floral shirt. The view of Samutsevich is obstructed by two uniformed officers standing in front of her.
Yekaterina Samutsevich

Yekaterina Stanislavovna Samutsevich (Russian: Екатери́на Станисла́вовна Самуце́вич; born 9 August 1982)[1] is a Russian political activist. She was a member of the anti-Putinist[2] punk rock group Pussy Riot.


On 17 August 2012, she was convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for a performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and sentenced to two years imprisonment. She has been recognized as a political prisoner by the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.[3] Amnesty International named her a prisoner of conscience due to "the severity of the response of the Russian authorities."[2]

She was released on a suspended sentence by a Moscow appeals judge on 10 October 2012 following an argument from her lawyer that she had been stopped by cathedral guards before she could get her guitar out of its case.[4] In the years after her release, Samutsevich disappeared from public eye and keeps a low profile by regularly changing her email address and phone number.[5]

Samutsevich first studied computers at Moscow Power Engineering Institute and worked at a research centre as a computer programmer,[6] before quitting to study media art at the Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia[7] where she graduated top of her class.[8] For two years she worked for a defense contractor on a secret project, to develop software for the nuclear attack submarine K-152 Nerpa.[9] Thereafter she worked as a freelance programmer. She is interested in LGBT issues. Court sessions were attended by her father, Stanislav Samutsevich,[7] whom she lived with before her arrest,[8] who stated that he felt "proud about how firm and prepared she is to face the punishment rather than betray her beliefs".[6]

Samutsevich has been a member of the Voina collective since 2007.[10] In 2010, Samutsevich was among the Voina activists who attempted to release live cockroaches into the Tagansky Courthouse; the extent to which they succeeded in this action is disputed. She was later prosecuted in the same building for their involvement in Pussy Riot's "punk prayer".[11] She also took part in a series of actions, Operation Kiss Garbage,[12] from January through March 2011. This project comprised female members kissing policewomen in Moscow Metro stations and on the streets. It was primarily an anti-government protest, but also controversial because the non-consensual "ambush kissing" could be considered sexual battery.[13]


  1. ^ "Дело группы Pussy Riot". (in Russian). 23 March 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Russia: Release punk singers held after performance in church". Amnesty International. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Троих предполагаемых участниц Pussy Riot признали политзаключенными" [Three of the alleged participants of Pussy Riot recognized as political prisoners]. Росбалт (in Russian). 25 March 2012. Archived from the original on 12 September 2012. (Google translation.)
  4. ^ Brooke, James (10 October 2012). "Russia Frees One Punk Rocker, Keeps Two in Jail". Voice of America.
  5. ^ Averbuch, Masha (25 November 2017). "The day the protest died: Whatever happened to Pussy Riot?". Haaretz.
  6. ^ a b Vasilyeva, Nataliya (16 August 2012). "Women behind the mask of Russia's Pussy Riot band". The Pottstown Mercury. Archived from the original on 9 June 2020.
  7. ^ a b Elder, Miriam (8 August 2012). "Pussy Riot profile: Yekaterina Samutsevich: Art lover Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, warns of government campaign to instil fear among Russians with 'opposition' views". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b Grove, Thomas (17 August 2012). "Punk rock band: three profiles in Russian protest". Reuters.
  9. ^ Vlasenko, Elena (7 September 2012). "Pussy Riot father: "Putin is a symbol of a sick system"". Index on Censorship. Archived from the original on 29 November 2012.
  10. ^ Peter, Thomas (16 August 2012). "Witness to Pussy Riot's activist beginnings". Reuters.
  11. ^ "Перед приговором секс-символ Pussy Riot в письме сторонникам заявила о победе: "Трудно поверить, что это не сон"". NEWSru (in Russian). 17 August 2012.
  12. ^ Elder, Miriam (1 March 2011). "Radical Russian art group shows love for the police, Voina showers female police officers with kisses". Global Post.
  13. ^ "Девушки из арт-группы "Война" насильно целуют женщин-милиционеров (ВИДЕО)". (in Russian). 1 March 2011. Retrieved 17 August 2012.

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