While ANIMAL talked to all three Pussy Riot’s lawyers at NYU, Editor in Chief of GQ Russia Michael Idov snuck in a prison interview, Soviet era-style — secret correspondence. He asked the grrrls — who are most likely about to be shipped off to a penal work colony to serve a two-year sentence for dancing in a church — if that vicious Russian article was true and they’re getting a VIP treatment in jail. Masha says, “Did Auschwitz have VIP death lounges?” Snap. Read on.

Katya’s answers were confiscated, but there’s still plenty grizzly news from jail from the other two about the bizarre regiments, sleep deprivation, regular searches, “‘Hug the wall’ this and ‘Hands behind your back’ that.” Nadya read the Bible a few times. And this gem of a quote from Masha:

“We couldn’t even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us. Sure, they tried to intimidate us constantly. But unlike Putin, we’re not chickenshit.”

Them’s fighting words! Also, a reference to their Red Square performance of Putin Pissed Himself (Putin Is Chickenshit). Oh, way to cross-promote!

On a counterpoint, artist and ANIMAL hero Boryana Rossa has published a very worthy thesis on the case. She supports them, like all of us, and thinks the imprisonment is unjust, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think critically between the ra-ra-ras about the Pussy Riot “brand” and the conflicting notion of Pussy Riot self-labeling themselves as feminist when they’re quoting the conservative Solzhenitsyn.

One of the most potent parts of the critique include bits about Katya, the only imprisoned member who does not have children or appear like the traditionally (zzzzz) beautiful pin-up of femininity and fragility (Like Nadya, pictured here oh-so-Holy.)

Yekaterina Samutsevich is usually not mentioned in these cases, because she doesn’t fit. Does that mean that the ones who fail to fit this “beauty/mother” ideal do not deserve to be released or won’t be heard? The colorful masks of the group had been taken off; the fascist discourse about “beauty” (or about what is considered “beautiful” by a deeply misogynist society) had taken over our minds so naturally, as if we were supposed to think that way by default.

I attempted to stress this point when I ambushed Pussy Riot lawyer Valeria Volkova after the conference, but no amount of detail-dropping and Russian could get her to admit that Katya was being treated differently, even though she was apprehended before she made it to the altar but is serving the same sentence as the femme mothers. She admitted that Katya was the ideologue of the group. She’s the one that drove the feminist ideals. Yet, Volkova insisted they there were being all judged collectively as a group. Sure. And yet, her correspondence to Michael Idov was the one intercepted. Mm-hmm.

Katya also had the best, most philosophically direct closing statement. Swoon.

Stay tuned to ANIMAL for all your Pussy Riot news.