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Pussy Riot member caught up in row after accusing legal team of dereliction of duty

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  • published
    21 Nov 2012
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    AP Photo/Misha Japaridze
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There was some glimmer of joy when Yekaterina Samutsevich, one of the three defendants in the high-profile Pussy Riot case, was released on appeal. But recriminations and counter-recriminations have now begun. 

In a long interview with Lenta.ru, Samutsevich accused the group’s legal team of a string of oversights and misdemeanours. As well as claiming that the lawyers were ineffectual, Samutsevich also suggested that the team had deliberately used the trial as a platform to curry favour with the Russian opposition.  Samutsevich suggested that  the lawyers “gave more speeches about the situation in Russia [in court]. It turned out we were like lawyers, and they were like artists, like co-authors of the trial. They were not lawyers.”

Of the three lawyers – Mark Feygin, Nikolai Polozov and Violetta Volkova, all of whom have gained a reputation for working on behalf of clients from the Russian opposition movement – Feygin came in for the greatest opprobrium.  Samutsevich suggested that Feygin forged papers to trademark the name ‘Pussy Riot’ whilst the group were still in pre-trial detention. She also claimed that Feygin withheld her passport subsequent to her release.

Responding to a previous claim by Feygin that the women were self-styled martyrs, Samutsevich stressed “we’re not masochists and we don’t want to sit in jail,” Samutsevich said, responding to earlier statements by Feygin that the women preferred to serve time in jail “and emerge like heroes. It’s strange that some people think that we went to jail to become stars. We fought until the end. Nadya and Masha don’t want to be jailed.”

The interview sparked off a flurry of to-and-fro on Twitter. The legal team suggested that Samutsevich has co-operated with the Kremlin to dodge a prison sentence Polozov struck back at Samutsevich, claiming that the Kremlin had deliberately exploited her words: “Back in summer I said that the authorities would carry out a campaign of discreditation against the Pussy Riot lawyers and here you go. Samutsevich’s lies, reproduced in the media, are one element of the deal that allowed her to get out of the case.”

The other two defendants, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, are currently serving two year terms in remote labour camps. [via The Guardian]

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