Russian punk band video criticizes Putin, Olympics

Published 9:55 am Thursday, February 20, 2014

SOCHI, Russia — Russian punk band Pussy Riot on Thursday ended their stay in the Olympic city of Sochi by posting a video criticizing the Winter Games and President Vladimir Putin.

The band has been filming in Sochi since Sunday and has had violent run-ins with authorities. They have been detained several times, and on Wednesday militia members attacked the group with horsewhips as they tried to perform under an Olympic sign.

Band members said they were returning to Moscow to attend the verdicts in a trial of 20 people arrested after clashes on the eve of Putin’s inauguration to a third term in 2012.

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The performance-art collective, made up of a loose grouping of feminists, has called for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics, arguing that Putin has exceeded his authority and is restricting human rights. Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina spent nearly two years in prison on charges of hooliganism for their protest in Moscow’s main cathedral in 2012.