Fri, Feb 21, 2014 - Page 7 News List

Punk band whipped in Sochi during anti-Putin video filming

AFP and AP, SOCHI, Russia

Russian punk group Pussy Riot yesterday posted a new video filmed in the center of Olympics host Sochi, savaging Russian President Vladimir Putin over the hosting of the Winter Games and the rights climate in Russia.

The video, titled Putin will teach you how to love the motherland, is the first music project by Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina since they were released from prison colonies last year.

The pair have been in Sochi along with Pussy Riot supporters all week. They were detained by police for several hours on Tuesday and beaten in scuffles on Wednesday that saw them roughly handled and whipped by Cossacks.

The video opens with the Pussy Riot members clad in colored balaclavas, tights and one-piece dresses swimming in the sea off Sochi.

They are then seen singing and dancing in front of the Olympic rings in the center of Sochi and then trying to taunt a giant Olympic mascot, a furry snow leopard.

The video also shows Wednesday’s footage of the girls being beaten with whips and roughly beaten in scuffles with Cossacks, who perform the role of vigilantes in southern Russia.

The Russian-language and highly colloquial lyrics slam the human rights situation in Russia, referencing the activists who are still jailed over a Moscow anti-Putin protest in 2012 and the jailed Sochi environmental campaigner Yevgeny Vitishko.

“They will teach you in the prison camps how to cry and how to obey/Salute to the bosses, and hi, il Duce,” the song says. “The constitution is lynched, Vitishko’s in prison/Stability, prison gruel, the fence and the watchtower. Putin will teach you how to love the motherland.”

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were sent to penal colonies on a two-year hooliganism sentence for performing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral in 2012.

However, they were freed early on amnesty in December last year.

The International Olympic Committee said images of the attack on the Pussy Riot punk group in Sochi were “very unsettling.”

Committee spokesman Mark Adams said that the governor of the Krasnodar region has apologized for the attack and is investigating.

Adams said it was a matter not directly related to the Sochi Games, but he “found the pictures and the video very unsettling.”

The committee wants to know more details, but called it “largely an issue for” the Russian government, Adams said.

He added that “it’s a shame if the Olympics is used as a political platform.”

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