Pussy Riot Members Beaten in Sochi Public Square

2.19.2014

By Out.com Editors

Watch the video of the brutal beating by Cossacks

Just as things seemed to have seemed to be going smoothly in Russia for the contentious Winter Olympics, it seems all hell broke loose in Sochi. Members of the band Pussy Riot (who were already arrested and held for hours without being charged) were in a public plaza in Sochi to film a video for a new protest song called "Putin will teach you how to love your Motherland" and, after beginning the performance, a group of Russian Cossacks branding whips and pepper spray began attacking the group members. As the WaPo reports:

Alyokhina tweeted a photo Wednesday of a young man who had joined the five women for the performance — usually they perform as a feminist collective. He had a bloodied face, an injury Alyokhina said was suffered in the attack. She posted another photo of a woman with red marks on her chest.

Tolokonnikova, who was knocked to the ground and hit with a whip, tweeted that her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, had been taken to the hospital, unable to see because of the pepper spray. And David Khakim, a Sochi environmental activist, tweeted that police detained one man for questioning but let the others go.

“We were attacked by 10 Cossacks and men in civilian clothes,” he tweeted.

The Cossacks, descended from czarist-era horsemen who patrolled the borders of the Russian empire, are remembered historically for leading pogroms against Jews. Today they are socially conservative and ardent supporters of the Russian Orthodox Church. Recently, they have been revived as a sort of volunteer citizen patrol, and about 800 of them have supplemented the police providing security for the Winter Games here.

[H/T Towleroad.com]

Tags: Popnography
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