Nadya Tolokonnikova, seamstress

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Vanessa Blaylock stand in front of the "Asylum in your Embassy" clothing shop in Second Life

It’s crazy but true: I’m sewing more clothes now that I’m out of prison than I ever did in Putin’s gulag! Big differences are:
1. Freedom Fashions, not Oppression Outfits.
2. Festive Colors, not boring drab.

Come by the Asylum in Your Embassy shop on the web or in Second Life and pick up some Free, Freedom Fashions!
• Asylum in Your Embassy / Second Life Marketplace
• Asylum in Your Embassy / In-World SLURL



Nadya Tolokonnikova and Vanessa Blaylock stand in front of the "Asylum in your Embassy" clothing shop in Second Life

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Vanessa Blaylock stand in front of the "Asylum in your Embassy" clothing shop in Second Life

For us the Punk Prayer in the Christ the Savior Cathedral is not too important anymore. We are different people now. We lived through a long life in prison; it is a totally different reality from the one you live, and this life, this common experience, unites us now much more than joint participation in the Punk Prayer in the Christ the Savior Cathedral. 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. I don’t consider this time wasted. I gained unique experience which will make it easier to really engage in human rights work. I became older, I saw the state from within, I saw this totalitarian machine as it is. 2 years ago I was a student at Moscow State University. Now Vladimir Putin has given me a cruel, but enlightening education at the IK-14 Penal Colony in Mordovia. For The Real Nadya Tolokonnikova the future will be less about Pussy Riot and more about our prison reform project Justice Zone. Meanwhile here on iRez, I, Fake Nadya share her ideology, but my work is a bit simpler. I organize Virtual Public Art Activities and operate a freedom apparel shop, Asylum in Your Embassy, which has locations on the web and in the virtual world Second Life.

7 thoughts on “Nadya Tolokonnikova, seamstress

    1. Hey Mike, thanks for noticing. I’ve updated my bio now. There’s just so many things to do when you get out after 2 years in prison. Personal things like spending time with your daughter. National things like creating “Justice Zone” for prison reform. And yes, even updating your bio all over the place!

      Did you have a chance to drop by the shop and pick up a free t-shirt? Agnes and I have been busy putting out lots of progressive fashion for socially aware avatars everywhere. Here’s to a better 2014!

        1. Thanks Mike! You seem pretty informed. I hope you get to talk to “The Real Nadya” some day. Sorry you only get little old “Fake Nadya” me for now. I guess in some senses it’s as simple as Lord Acton’s famous 1887 quotation, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”. If you look at America under the NSA, or Hoover, or McCarthy… if you look at Russia under Putin, or the Soviet Union, or the Czars… the details may vary, and different groups might suffer more or less, but the overarching narrative of privilege and marginalization seems constant.

          I hope Real Nadya has a chance to make real change in Russia. It’s an incredible challenge. Probably near impossible. But the “Real Me” seems to grow wiser every day and it’d be great for her to have a chance to build a more fair, more inclusive Russia. It’s interesting, I’ve heard the perspective that if Putin tried to be any less hard line, he’d lose power. That he wouldn’t gain support from the opposition, but he would lose it from his own base. From Jackson Pollock to Lady Gaga, artists have always been pressured to conform to their own legacy by their not-so-outside-the-box public. I suppose the public keeps politicians on an even shorter leash.

          Sometimes late at night I imagine a day when President Tolokonnikova signs a treaty with President Snowden. Why can’t we live in THAT parallel universe? No doubt that world wouldn’t be perfect either. But I’d love the chance to see it.

    1. It’s heart warming to see personal courage.
      For me the $nowden case generated a rush of fear. When it comes to him, Greanweld and B00z AII€n, Dylan has the best words to describe my situation,
      “And if my thought-dreams could be seen
      They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
      But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life, and life only.”

      1. It’s funny you should mention “courage” Mike. It does seem like oppression can bring that out. When you look at people like Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden, they seem like pretty ordinary people who could have led ordinary lives, but they found themselves in a moment where they had to make a choice. Silence would have been the easier choice and their lives could have carried on without interruption. But for some individuals silence just isn’t an option. So they spoke truth to power and their lives are forever changed.

        For Masha and I, the message is the same, and yet it has evolved. Before our 2 years in prison we thought Putin was bad for Russia and his conjoining of church and state was a crime against the republic. We still believe that. But this time has moved us from punk protesters to, I hope, human rights reformers.

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