Pussy Riot Members Get 15 Days in Jail and a 3-Year Ban From Sporting Events After Protesting at the World Cup Final

The group has also released a new music video about Russian police.

Veronica Nikulshina, a member of the Russian protest-art group Pussy Riot, is escorted off the pitch after staging an on-field protest during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images.
Veronica Nikulshina, a member of the Russian protest-art group Pussy Riot, is escorted off the pitch after staging an on-field protest during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018. Photo by Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images.

After a high-profile protest on the field of the World Cup final in Moscow on Sunday, four members of punk rock feminist protest art collective Pussy Riot have been sentenced to 15 days behind bars and a three-year ban from sporting events. The group has followed up their latest action with the release of a new music video, “Track About Good Cop.”

Known for its colorful face-obscuring balaclavas and outspoken criticism of Vladimir Putin and his government, Pussy Riot made headlines in 2012 for performing the protest song “Punk Prayer” on the steps of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ Savior. Three of the group’s original members were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, and two others, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were imprisoned until December 2013.

Our fourth member, Olga Pakhtusova, gets 15 days of arrest and a ban to visit sports events for 3 years.

Posted by PussyRiot on Monday, July 16, 2018

The group’s latest arrests stem from what they’ve dubbed “Policeman Enters the Game” or “The Football Field Action.” Dressed as Russian police, Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachova, Olga Pakhtusova, and Pyotr Verzilov stormed the field during the match between France and Croatia. (Verzilov, previously considered the group’s unofficial spokesperson, is the husband of Tolokonnikova.) They were ultimately dragged off the field by security guards.

The PussyRiot Facebook page has been posting regular updates about the status of the protestors, who were sentenced in Moscow’s Khamovnichesky court on misdemeanor charges after spending the night behind bars. Initial reports had indicated that those involved faced fines of up to 200,000 rubles ($2,700) or 160 hours of community service.

The first of pussy riot members' cases is being heard in the court now / прямо сейчас слушается дело первой участницы Pussy Riot

Posted by PussyRiot on Monday, July 16, 2018

The on-field protest marked the 11th anniversary of the death of Russian dissident artist and poet Dmitriy Prigov, who wrote of a “heavenly policeman,” an idealized concept the group contrasts with the reality of the police force in the Russian state.

Pussy Riot’s new video features three young men, later joined by one woman, all clad in police uniforms, dancing in the snow. “Me and you, we are dancing, we are not cops,” the lyrics read. “There’s plenty of buzz in life without putting your badge out. Your affairs with power are careless. It will betray you—You will go to Siberia.”

Calling more broadly for police reform, Pussy Riot shared a list of demands on Facebook:

1. Let all political prisoners free. Free Oleg Sentsov.
2. Not imprison for “likes”.
3. Stop Illegal arrests on rallies.
4. Allow political competition in the country.
5. Not fabricate criminal accusations and not keep people in jails for no reason.

Watch Pussy Riot’s new music video, “Track About Good Cop,” below.


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