Russia to release pro-gay, anti-Putin, punk group Pussy Riot

A far-reaching amnesty means the members of Pussy Riot, as well as the Greenpeace activists, could be freed

Russia to release pro-gay, anti-Putin, punk group Pussy Riot
18 December 2013

Russia is set to release two members of the pro-gay, anti-Putin, punk group Pussy Riot as early as tomorrow (19 December).

The parliament has passed a wide-ranging amnesty law unanimously, allowing first-time offenders, minors and women with small children to be freed from prison.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhnia staged a punk performance in Moscow’s main cathedral early last year.

During the performance, they included a reference to the country’s persecuted LGBT community with the line ‘Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains’.

But while the law allows a six-month period to carry out the amnesty, in theory this means it might not be the Christmas present many are hoping for.

Officials at both prisons where the two women are being held have indicated they are ready to release the Pussy Riot duo as soon as the law is signed by Putin.

‘We’re hoping that in case the bill gets passed, Nadia and Masha will be released on Thursday,’ Pyotr Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s husband, told the AP.

‘There’s nothing to stop this.’

The two Pussy Riot members were originally sentenced to two years in jail last summer. They were due to be released in early March, as their sentence included time served since their arrest.

A third member, Ekaterina Samutsevich, was freed on appeal shortly after the trial concluded.

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