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Pussy Riot Planning Tribute to Bernie — and a Song for ‘Dickhead’ Trump

One of Pussy Riot's lead members, Nadya Tolokno, visited Washington, D.C. to schmooze with Bernie Sanders staffers and tease her upcoming song.

02.27.16 9:51 PM ET

Almost immediately after the leader of Pussy Riot arrived in Washington, DC, to headline an annual libertarian gathering on Friday, she was already DMing on Twitter with the Bernie Sanders campaign.

“I will have fun tonight with Bernie Sanders’s office, we will have drinks tonight,” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (also known as "Nadya Tolokno") told The Daily Beast, as she was wrapping up her evening at the International Students for Liberty Conference. “I am going to hang out with Bernie Sanders’s team.”

Tolokonnikova, who describes herself as a social democrat and was a supporter of Occupy Wall Street, is a leading member of Pussy Riot, the anti-Putin, feminist punk-rock collective based in Moscow. (It goes without saying that she is well to the left of many of the libertarian activists and students who she addressed at the Q&A session on Friday.) In 2012, she was famously convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" in Russia. 

Shortly after getting off her flight early Friday morning, she tweeted, “my ass just landed in Washington, and I urgently need a t-shirt with Bernie. could i pick it up somewhere tomorrow morning?” (Earlier this month, the Pussy Riot account posted a photo of her donning a Bernie 2016 shirt with the caption, “¡Viva los revolucionarios! ¡Viva Bernie!”) 

Tolokonnikova says that she sent the “urgent” tweet hoping that Team Bernie’s DC presence would invite her to visit their office — and that’s exactly what happened. Later that day, a staffer began direct-messaging her on Twitter, so she rushed over to claim her new, progressive-friendly T-shirt just before heading to the Students for Liberty summit.

She was apparently booed for Feeling The Bern at the conference, where she proudly sported the shirt.

The Russian punk-rock political activist says she has been in touch with the campaign before, and that she’s a huge fan of the Democratic presidential candidate and all the “energy and emotions” of his campaign. She agrees with his policy prescriptions and his views on, for instance, Social Security and Medicare, and believes that his attempted “political revolution” is historic, whether or not the senator wins the nomination. 

She is now in the process of writing a love letter — in the form of a punk-rock song, of course — to Sen. Sanders and his team. “It would be a song more about his ideas and his ideology, rather than his personality,” she said.

At the same time, she is working on a very different song about Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, with lyrics peppered with the same kind of coarse language that Trump has been dropping not infrequently on the campaign trail.

“I have several texts about Trump right now,” Tolokonnikova said, laughing. “If you go through the history on my browser, it will be like Urban Dictionary, ‘asshole synonym,’ ‘douchebag synonym,’ ‘dickhead rhyme.’”

Pussy Riot has written about American political issues before, including its first English-language song, “I Can’t Breathe,” about the controversy surrounding the killing of unarmed black man Eric Garner by NYPD officers. 

Neither Tolokonnikova nor her Russian colleagues and comrades see anything to like in Donald Trump’s candidacy. She has previously compared him to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who she views as a ruthless dictator, and compares them both to Adolf Hitler and fascist despots.

“Trump, as a man who has called women fat pigs, and whores, and sluts if he doesn’t like them, and as a person who wants to send away all Muslims — I mean, what’s wrong with this religion?” she said. “I was in prison because I was supposedly against Christianity, but I wasn’t. And I think it is fascism to persecute people, to send people away from the country where they live now...It is fascism. And I think Putin has a lot in common with Trump. They have a lot in common with Hitler...I know there’s a lot of differences, but still. It is dangerous [when] somebody announces that he hates somebody just because of religion, or race, or gender.”

It is safe to assume that Trump will not be using any Pussy Riot songs at his rallies this year.