Pussy Riot Beating at Sochi Not Olympic Problem, Says IOC

Pussy Riot

The beating of the members of the Russian punk band, Pussy Riot at the Sochi Winter Olympics, where the band has been protesting the president of Russia, Vladamir Putin, is a civic problem, and not the problem of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said. However, a spokesperson for the IOC did say that he found the video of the beatings of the members “unsettling” after it was released this past Wednesday.

Pussy Riot, founded in 2011, is a feminist punk rock band and protest group. Based in the Russian city of Moscow, it is comprised of 11 members, all in their 20s and early 30s and all female. The group was in the midst of filming a video when they were attacked. The video mocked Putin’s hosting of the Sochi Winter Olympics from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23 of this year as a masking of human rights violations in the country of Russia, and implying that it was all a public relations ploy. Pussy Riot ended up using actual footage of the beatings in their video, Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland, which was released on Thursday.

Video footage was released of the band, clad in their classic bright colors, as they tried to perform the song for their new video, Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland. Shortly into it, they were confronted and subsequently attacked by members of the Cossack militia, who charged in after them and used whips and pepper spray on five of the band members. According to Pussy Riot’s attorney and USA Today, three of the five members attacked were hospitalized and are being treated for injuries from the Cossack militia beatings.

The Cossack militia was ironically hired as added security during the Sochi Winter Games. The militia once patrolled the borders of Russia. The spokesperson for the International Olympic Committee has also said that the governor of the region of Krasnodor has expressed disapproving sentiments regarding the beating situation of the Pussy Riot members. Pussy Riot performed just this past Wednesday in downtown Sochi, but still, the IOC says that the Pussy Riot beating at Sochi, however unfortunate, is not an Olympic problem.

This new video is the first to be put out after two of the Pussy Riot members, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were freed from prison on December 23 of this past year. The two spent nearly two years there after being arrested in an incidence where they protested against Putin in a Russian church.

Tolokonnikova stated in a news conference that the Olympics have turned into a totalitarian regime where the people’s rights are banned, including those of political activists, ecologists, those of the LGBT community, and others as well. IOC representatives at the Sochi Olympics, upon viewing the video and hearing of the protests, have said that they found the Pussy Riot video footage and the beating very disturbing, and that, although the Pussy Riot protests are not an Olympic problem, they are now concerned that the Sochi Olympics are being used as a political platform.

By Laura Clark

Sources:

euronews

USA Today

CNN

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