Pussy Riot Members Attacked by Cossacks (VIDEO)

pussy riotMembers of the punk rock band Pussy Riot were attacked on Wednesday by Russian Cossack militia group members outside the Sochi Olympics.  The band was performing under a sign advertising the Olympics when the Cossacks attacked them with  horse whips.

The six members of the band, five women and one man, were wearing their trademark ski masks and had just started getting their guitars ready when a group of ten Cossacks and other Russian security officials came in and started the assault. It was reported that the Cossacks took the guitars and threw them in the trash while others removed the masks from the band member’s heads. It also appeared that one of the Cossacks used pepper spray on the band.

The assault lasted roughly three minutes and one member of the band was whipped while laying helplessly on the ground. Police latter arrived on scene and questioned witnesses however no one was arrested.  The male member of the band had blood all over his face and claimed he had been shoved on to the ground.

An attorney for the band, Aleander Popkov, told USA Today that three members of Pussy Riot had been hospitalized to treat injuries from the attack. He also said that the band had wanted to use the location under the Sochi Olympic sign to make a music video.

Pussy Riot is considered a punk band but likes to be called a performance-art collective that consists of mostly feminists who like to show their actions in their music videos. They have gained international attention from those who believe Putin’s government has gone beyond its authority especially in its lacking for human and homosexual rights.

This incident comes in the shadow of two of the members being arrested and shortly detained on Tuesday. The collective as called for a boycott on the Sochi Olympics claiming that any world leader who comes to the games is supporting Putin’s policies.  They were getting ready to perform a song called “Putin Will Make You Love Your Motherland” when police took them into custody. Russian police forces that the two members, Nadezhad Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokina, were simply brought in for questioning after something from the hotel they were staying at was stolen. However, the two claim that they were treated roughly by police and even used Twitter to show them in police vehicles and in jail.

The Cossacks are a militia group with a long tradition in Russia. They date back to the 15th century were they served in the czarist cavalry. They were mostly responsible for expanding the imperial Russian borders and where mostly used as guards to those borders. When the czars fell and Lenin took over the Cossacks all but disappeared but have been making a comeback mainly in the southern part of Russia.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokina can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Recently they were released from a 21-month imprisonment for protesting in a cathedral located in Moscow were they earned charges of “hooliganism” and blasphemy. Their outspoken ways have gained them the attention from the government they may have wanted. However, when Pussy Riot was attacked by the Cossacks, all being caught on video as well, this may gain them even more attention and some support as well.

By Adam Stier

Sources:

USA Today
The Washington Post
Daily News

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