Pussy Riot mocks Russia's Olympics in music video

Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:18am EST
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By Alissa de Carbonnel

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Protest group Pussy Riot published their first music video since two members were freed from jail, mocking President Vladimir Putin's hosting of the Olympics as a public relations stunt papering over human rights violations in Russia.

Filmed in Sochi, where the February 7-23 Winter Games are being held, the video shows five group members being beaten by Cossacks with a whip as they try to perform a song beside a wall covered in the Sochi Games logos.

Cossacks, once the patrolmen of the Russian borderlands, are being used to reinforce security around the Olympic Games.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who spent nearly two years in prison for protesting against Putin in a church, performed in the video released on Thursday, titled "Putin will teach you how to love the motherland."

"Sochi is blocked - Olympic surveillance / Special forces, weapons, crowds of cops," read the song's lyrics.

One verse refers to Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's release from prison on December 23 under an amnesty they say was aimed at improving Russia's image before the Games.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina said they had been detained three times while trying to film the video since they arrived in Sochi on Sunday.

"The Olympics have turned ... an authoritarian regime into a totalitarian regime with preventative arrests," Tolokonnikova said at a news conference that had to be held on the street in the town of Adler, near Sochi, after the group could not find a venue that would host it.   Continued...

Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina (3rd R) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (2nd R) along with masked members show a video to journalists on a laptop computer during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, in Adler February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov