Pussy Riot invaded the pitch at the World Cup final

Four members of Pussy Riot donned police uniforms to stage an outrageous protest during the final in Moscow

Approximately 52 minutes into the pulse-pounding match between France and Croatia at the 2018 World Cup final, what appeared to be four police members were seen storming the pitch at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The four people proceeded to interfere with the game, with one woman seen high-fiving France’s Kylian Mbappe while Croatia’s Dejan Lovren got into a fight with another. Because the four disruptors were almost immediately hauled off the pitch, it was initially unclear why the match was interrupted or who exactly did the interrupting.

Shortly after the incident, Russian activist group Pussy Riot released a statement on their Facebook claiming responsibility. Citing the 11th anniversary of the death of Russian poet Dmitriy Prigov, the group cited Prigorov’s ideas of the “heavenly policeman” and the “earthly policeman” to explain their reasons for staging the four-person protest during the World Cup final. 

“The heavenly policeman, according to Prigov, talks on the two-way with the God Himself. The earthly policeman gets ready to disperse rallies. The heavenly policeman gently touches a flower in a field and enjoys Russian football team victories, while the earthly policeman feels indifferent to Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike. The heavenly policeman rises as an example of the nationhood, the earthly policeman hurts everyone. The heavenly policeman protects baby’s sleep, the earthly policeman persecutes political prisoners, imprisons people for ‘reposts’ and ‘likes’.”

Pussy Riot went on to state what they hope to achieve with their protest, listing out the following goals: “Let all political prisoners free; Not imprison for ‘likes’; stop illegal arrests on rallies; allow political competition in the country; and not fabricate criminal accusations and not keep people in jails for no reason.”

No strangers to facing off against Russian authorities, it remains unclear at the time of reporting what kind of legal ramifications the four members of Pussy Riot who stormed the pitch face.

UPDATE: A statement from Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova provided to Dazed said that the protesters were being held by Russian police in Luzhniki. Their lawyer, Nikolay Vasilyev, has not yet been allowed in, but believes they’re being charged on two misdemeanour counts. The group has expressed their worry about the members currently in police custody, having spent the night in the station with no access to washing or sleeping facilities.