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Pussy Riot Arrested In Sochi In Advance Of New Song

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Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk band who made headlines in 2012 when they were arrested for performing an anti-Putin song at a cathedral, are back in Russia this week and were reportedly arrested in Sochi on Tuesday after word got out that they were working on a new song.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the two most famous members of the band, have been in the U.S. in recent weeks, spreading the word about their cause and supporting a benefit concert in collaboration with Amnesty International, which was held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“A month ago we were freed from Russian prison camps. We will never forget what it’s like to be in prison after a political conviction. We have vowed to continue helping those who remain behind bars,” they said in a statement.

After the concert, however, several members of Pussy Riot penned an open letter to Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, saying they wanted them out of the band because they were setting up staged performances, something the group is strictly against.

“Our performances are always ‘illegal,’” the letter stated, “staged only in unpredictable locations and public places not designed for traditional entertainment…the world has acquired two brave, interesting, controversial human rights defenders. Unfortunately, we cannot congratulate them with this in person, because they refuse to have any contact with us.”

Russian leaders say that the group was detained on Tuesday because of their apparent connection with a theft in the hotel they were staying at, but Tolokonnikova’s husband says the arrests were made during an investigation of the new song the group is working on, titled “Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland.”

“The song takes several days to make,” Pyotr Verzilov said. “If the police had some questions about the song, then they should have officially said that. Instead, they are trying to charge Nadya, Masha and eight other members of the group with some sort of association with a theft at the hotel.”

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova says there wasn’t a staged protest happening at the time of the arrests, and that she and Maria Alyokhina were simply walking in the city. The duo has been critical of Putin’s plans for the Olympic games in Sochi, saying he was using the event to clean up his image.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Pussy Riot Arrested In Sochi In Advance Of New Song
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