Pussy Riot Wins Yoko Ono’s “LennonOno Peace Grant”

Miss Yoko Ono has awarded the imprisoned Russian musicians from Pussy Riot the “LennonOno Grant For Peace” in New York City.

The band of three, who were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in a labor camp for performing a song mocking the Russian President, Vladimir Putin inside of Moscow’s main cathedral.

Ono, obviously a peace activist and wife of the late John Lennon, said the band’s actions made all women proud. Yoko Ono said, “I thank Pussy Riot for standing firmly in their belief of freedom of expression and making all women of the world proud to be women and I agree.”

Ono created the LennonOno award in 2002 to honor and continue the philanthropic work of John Lennon. The grant is awarded every two years to multiple recipients.

This year included Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist who was crushed to death by a bulldozer while protesting Israeli settlement building in Palestine in 2003, as well as author and activist John Perkins, who wrote “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”; and the writer Christopher Hitchens, who died last year.

Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova‘s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, and daughter, Gera, jointly accepted the award on the group’s behalf.

Verzilov stated, “During the past six months, the girls have obviously all turned themselves into role models for millions of people inside Russia and abroad just because, well, it’s incredible to see them act so powerfully, so strongly inside the brutal circumstances,” Verzilov said.

“So they’re keeping on their good faith — the whole world was amazed that, sitting in a Russian court, having the threat of a jail sentence of up to seven years in front of you, you’re able to smile, to give these intellectual comments, to write and give [a] full-bodied political speech,” he continued.

“They’re continuing like that — they’re very, very strong women and nothing seems to break their spirits.”

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