Activism

Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokno: ‘Julian Assange is connected to the Russian government’

In an interview with The Daily Beast this Thursday, one of the frontwomen for the Russian punk band Pussy Riot talked about the state of the 2016 election, along with commentary on the similarities between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

But one particular portion of the interview is raising eyebrows, namely Nadya Tolokno‘s assertion that Wikileaks‘ founder Julian Assange is in direct collusion with the Russian government in an effort to undermine the American electoral process.

Speaking about the similarities Trump and Putin share, Tolokno said they both utilize the “strongman mentality.”

“[But] it’s not a “strong man” psychology, it’s an asshole psychology,” Tolokno said. “[Trump and Putin] want to oppress people and don’t want them to raise their voices. Their reaction when it comes to people who try to criticize them is very similar: Putin put us in jail, and Donald Trump wants to put Hillary Clinton in jail if he’s elected President of the United States. So it makes perfect sense that Putin would want someone like Trump to take power.”

“They’re both stuck in the past,” she continued. “Trump is saying “Make America Great Again,” and Putin is playing a lot of games, saying he’ll restore the Soviet Union and essentially “Make Russia Great Again.” He wants to bring back this Cold War situation where they’re playing games and jeopardizing the rest of the world. But neither of them have any plans for the future. What can they offer people for their future? Nothing.”

When asked about the “current state of Wikileaks,” Tolokno recalled a conversation she had with Assange 2 years ago when she visited him at the Ecuadorian Embassy, saying that she sees him as being “at war with the American government.”

“He’s smart and charismatic and will use any means to destroy the American government,” Tolokno said. “And we had a conversation if it was really the ethical thing to do that with the hands of another government [Russia] which is, in fact, much worse and a real authoritarian government. Julian Assange is a really good diplomat, so he can basically just dodge direct answers from my questions on that, and gives other answers—as Putin usually does when people ask him directly about some uncomfortable things.”

According to Tolokno, the things she saw that day during her visit with Assange made it undeniable that he’s colluding with Russia.

“On the next day after I visited the Ecuadorian Embassy, the head of Russia’s biggest propaganda network, Russia Today, the editor-in-chief came to him and they had a project together,” she recalled. “He often works with the Russia propaganda machine, and doesn’t try to hide it. Julian Assange doesn’t try to hide that fact because he hosts at the Ecuadorian Embassy the editor-in-chief of the Russian propaganda team, Russia Today, and has projects with them. Russia Today has nothing to do with truth. They get tons of government money, so instead of that money going to healthcare or education, it serves these propaganda goals—which is disturbing for a lot of Russians because they’re undergoing a huge economic crisis. But Julian Assange, he openly works with [Russia]. It’s not a secret. He’s connected with the Russian government, and I feel that he’s proud of it.”

“I generally support the work that WikiLeaks is doing,” she added. “But I’m not that thrilled about his decisions that are unethical, in my view, concerning his connections to the Russian government.”

Tolokno was then asked how she feels about the fact that Wikileaks is only releasing data designed to hurt Clinton and hasn’t yet released any dumps on Trump.

“It sucks for sure,” she replied.

Read the entire interview here.

Watch Pussy Riot’s new video “Make America Great Again” below:

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