Pytor Verzilov, a member of the prominent anti-Kremlin activist band, Pussy Riot, that stormed the World Cup final is seriously ill with members of the groups suggesting he might have been poisoned.
“Our friend, brother, comrade Petr Verzilov is in reanimation. His life is in danger. We think that he was poisoned,” Pussy Riot said on its official Twitter feed. Verzilov’s girlfriend, Veronika Nikulshina, was cited by Meduza as saying he was “rushed to hospital on Tuesday night after he started to lose his eyesight and ability to talk and walk.”
“His eyesight was going… First we dismissed it as fatigue but then it got worse and he lost the power of speech,” Nikulshina told Ekho Moskvy radio. “He didn’t recognise me anymore, he didn’t react to requests.
She added, pending the results of medical tests: “I am not ruling out the possibility that it could be connected to outside interference.”
The band then put a call out for a toxicologist before stating they had found one an hour later.
All that’s known for sure at the minute is that Verzilov is in hospital. The editor-in-chief of Mediazona, Sergei Smirnov, confirmed this information but was able to add nothing else at this point.
Verzilov served 15 days in prison after his pitch invasion during the World Cup final that saw Pussy Riot become the only group to visibly protest at the tournament.
The World Cup final was disrupted when the activist group, Pussy Riot, invaded the pitch, but do you know who they are and what they were protesting?
These weren’t just some no-mark fans running onto the pitch as a bit of banter ahead of a lifetime ban from football.
It’s easy to forget that this World Cup was held in Russia, a country still under criminal investigation for bribing FIFA officials to win the tournament in the first place.
While the media enjoyed the carnival of football, little attention was has been paid to the human rights violations that take place in the country on a regular basis, never mind the political meddling they have engaged in that is in some way responsible for both Donald Trump’s election and the success of the Brexit vote.
Their actions were praised by Garry Kasparov while Kylian Mbappe, unlike Dejan Lovren in the images above, also seemed to know what was going on and give his approval:
These young women are braver than any million of Putin’s thugs and sycophants. I’m glad someone had the courage to disturb the false reflection of Russia created for the World Cup. https://t.co/BlCVSuqcMB
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) July 15, 2018
After the incident, Pussy Riot issued a statement explaining why they did it:
NEWS FLASH! Just a few minutes ago four Pussy Riot members performed in the FIFA World Cup final match — ”Policeman enters the Game”
Today is 11 years since the death of the great Russian poet, Dmitriy Prigov. Prigov created an image of a policeman, a carrier of the heavenly nationhood, in the russian culture.
The heavenly policeman, according to Prigov, talks on the two-way with the God Himself. The earthly policeman gets ready to disperse rallies. The heavenly policeman gently touches a flower in a field and enjoys Russian football team victories, while the earthly policeman feels indifferent to Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike. The heavenly policeman rises as an example of the nationhood, the earthly policeman hurts everyone.
The heavenly policeman protects baby’s sleep, the earthly policeman persecutes political prisoners, imprisons people for “reposts” and “likes”.
The heavenly policeman is the organizer of this World Cup’s beautiful carnival, the earthy policeman is afraid of the celebration. The heavenly policeman carefully watches for obeying the game rules, the earthly policeman enters the game not caring about the rules.
The FIFA World Cup has reminded us of the possibilities of the heavenly policeman in the Great Russia of the future, but the earthly policeman, entering the ruleless game breaks our world apart.
When the earthly policeman enters the game, we demand to:
1. Let all political prisoners free.
2. Not imprison for “likes”.
3. Stop Illegal arrests on rallies.
4. Allow political competition in the country.
5. Not fabricate criminal accusations and not keep people in jails for no reason.
6. Turn the earthly policeman into the heavenly policeman.
I’ve no doubt that the name ‘Pussy Riot’ is a new one for most football supporters, so here’s a little run-down on who they are:
Pussy Riot are a seven-year-old Russian feminist punk rock group who are based in Moscow. They are known for performing guerrilla performances that are often described as ‘provocative’ and tend to campaign around the same group of issues – feminism, LGBTQ+ rights and opposition to Vladimir Putin, who was in attendance at the Lughnizki Stadium along with 81,000 supporters and the biggest FIFA bigwigs.
The three women and one man who entered the pitch on Sunday afternoon were charged by the Russian authorities for “violation of spectators’ rights” and illegally wearing police symbols. The four protestors faced a fine of up to 11,500 rubles (approx. £140) or 160 hours of community service if found guilty however they were punished with 15 days in prison instead.