Pussy Riot releases new video featuring run-in with Cossacks in Sochi

The Russian punk band Pussy Riot released a new video Thursday featuring footage from its run-in the previous day with a whip-wielding Cossack militia that is helping to patrol Sochi during the Winter Olympics.

Since they arrived in the Black Sea resort on Sunday, members of the group have been detained several times. Some were also thrown to the ground and whipped when militia members stopped them from performing under an Olympic sign on Wednesday.

The group has called for a boycott of the Games to protest President Vladimir Putin’s human rights record. 

“The Olympics has turned the police state into a total police state and the authoritarian regime into a totalitarian regime with preventive arrests,” band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said at a news conference Thursday in Sochi, according to Reuters news agency. “The Olympics has created an environment of sweeping violations of human rights in Russia. We are banned from speaking out here.”

Tolokonnikova and another band member in Sochi, Maria Alyokhina, spent nearly two years in prison on charges of hooliganism for entering a Moscow cathedral and performing what they called a punk prayer, begging the Virgin Mary to drive away Putin.

They were granted amnesty in what was widely seen as a move to improve Russia’s image in the runup to the Olympics.

The new video, called “Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland,” was posted on the group’s website. In it, members sing, “Sochi is blocked - Olympic surveillance / Special forces, weapons, crowds of cops,” according to a translation provided on the site.

Band members said Thursday that they were returning to Moscow to hear the verdicts against a group of people arrested in connection with protests that turned violent on the eve of Putin's inauguration for a third term in 2012.

alexandra.zavis@latimes.com

Twitter: @alexzavis

 

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