Pussy Riot came to Sochi looking for trouble: Russia Deputy PM

Last Updated: Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 14:56

Sochi: The high profile members of punk group Pussy Riot came to Olympics host Sochi this week looking for trouble, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak said Saturday after the women were filmed being beaten with a horsewhip.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who were released from prison colonies last year, were shoved, pushed to the ground and whipped by Cossacks in Sochi on Wednesday.

The pair, who have been vocal opponents of the Sochi Games and called for a boycott, had earlier been detained by police in connection with a theft case but not charged.

The shocking images of them being violently whipped by a Cossack vigilante feature prominently in their new music video which savages President Vladimir Putin over the hosting of the Games.
"The girls came here with the specific aim of provoking conflict," Kozak told reporters at the Games.

"They had looked for it for a long time and in the end they succeeded in having a conflict with the local residents," he said.

But he added that the individual who carried out the whipping had been ordered to pay an administrative fine. He was never detained.

"The citizen who committed the act of hooliganism has been brought to responsibility in line with Russian law," said Kozak.

He emphasised that Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were facing no legal consequences as a result of their stay in Sochi.
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.

Their new video, titled "Putin will teach you how to love the motherland", is bitterly critical of the Russian strongman and the hosting of the Games and also slams the rights climate in Russia. 

AFP

First Published: Saturday, February 22, 2014 - 14:56

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