Russian Activist Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot Visits Indiana Monday and Tuesday; Films video for song titled, “God Save Abortion”

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 14: Russian activist group Pussy Riot films a music video for a song titled, “God Save Abortion,” to protest Indiana’s near total abortion ban, on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse on November 13, 2023, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of Pussy Riot, who is wanted by the Russian government, directed the filming. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Staff report

Indianapolis, Indiana – November 14, 2023

Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founding member of Pussy Riot who spent time in a Russian prison for her activism, visited Bloomington on Monday and Indianapolis on Tuesday.

On Monday night, Tolokonnikova appeared at the Buskirk Chumley Theater as a guest speaker and performer for Indiana University’s Themester, themed “Light and Truth.” Indiana University professor Dr. Maria Bucur and undergraduate student Zoe Bardon asked Tolokonnikova a series of questions, followed by audience questions.

Following the speaking engagement, Tolokonnikova performed a DJ set and sang songs that integrated punk rock lyrics and political activism.

Tuesday morning, 18 members of the Indiana University community met Tolokonnikova and her team at a downtown Indianapolis hotel. They participated as extras in filming a music video, part of a protest against Indiana’s near total abortion ban, including scenes filmed on the Indiana Statehouse steps.

Later, Tolokonnikova and a few individuals in balaclavas discreetly filmed inside the Indiana Supreme Court. Despite anticipating a police response, they encountered no issues passing through metal detectors and filming within the court—something that would have led to their arrest in Russia.

However, Indianapolis has experienced more intense protests in the past. Instances include protesters being pepper-sprayed and arrested in 2016 during demonstrations against the election of Trump. Additionally, the city faced several days of violent protests following the killing of George Floyd in 2020, resulting in significant downtown vandalism, three shooting fatalities, and several gunshot injuries.

After the Roe v. Wade decision was overturned and Indiana began the process of criminalizing abortion, the statehouse witnessed large protests inside the statehouse. Similar protests also occurred earlier in the year when the GOP supermajority moved to criminalize gender-affirming healthcare.

In contrast to the intense protests in Indianapolis, the Pussy Riot video portrayed a more serene scene. The video they produced was titled “God Save Abortion” to accompany the release of their new song.

Music video by Pussy Riot

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: A person wears a balaclava as Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Two Pussy Riot activists wear balaclavas in the lobby of the Buskirk Chummy Theater where Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the activist group, performed at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: A marquee advertises a talk and performance by Nadya Tolokonnikova, of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, center, of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot talks at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Dr. Maria Bucur, left, and Indiana University Undergraduate Zoe Bardon celebrate Nadya Tolokonnikova’s birthday at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. Tolokonnikova is a founding member of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 13: Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot performs at the Buskirk Chumley Theater on November 13, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 14: Russian activist group Pussy Riot films a music video for a song titled, “God Save Abortion,” to protest Indiana’s near total abortion ban, on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse on November 13, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of Pussy Riot, who is wanted by the Russian government, directed the filming. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 14: Russian activist group Pussy Riot films a music video for a song titled, “God Save Abortion,” to protest Indiana’s near total abortion ban, on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse on November 13, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of Pussy Riot, who is wanted by the Russian government, directed the filming. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 14: Russian activist group Pussy Riot films a music video for a song titled, “God Save Abortion,” to protest Indiana’s near total abortion ban, on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse on November 13, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of Pussy Riot, who is wanted by the Russian government, directed the filming. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – NOVEMBER 14: Russian activist group Pussy Riot films a music video for a song titled, “God Save Abortion,” to protest Indiana’s near total abortion ban, on the steps of the Indiana Statehouse on November 13, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nadya Tolokonnikova, a founder of Pussy Riot, who is wanted by the Russian government, directed the filming. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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