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Pussy Riot World Cup invasion
via Pussy Riot Facebook

Pussy Riot members jailed for World Cup invasion, release abrasive new song

The punk activist collective dropped Track About Good Cop as protesters were sentenced to 15 days

Pussy Riot members stormed the pitch at the France vs Croatia World Cup final at the weekend, demonstrating against human rights abuses and corrupt authority in Russia while dressed as police officers. Four protesters – Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova, and Pyotr Verzilov – have been jailed for 15 days.

The members of the punk activist collective were also banned from sporting events for three years. 

“It is a pity that we disrupted the sportsmen,” Kurachyova told press in Moscow. “FIFA is involved in unfair games unfortunately. FIFA is a friend of heads of states who carry out repression, who violate human rights.” 

Verzilov also said, according to Reuters, that the demonstration was to highlight how “the state, in the form of the police, intrudes into people’s lives”.

On the day of the match, Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the protest, releasing a statement that highlighted ideals from Russian poet Dmitriy Prigorov on the “heavenly policeman” and what policing should be like. Listing their demands, they related: “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.”

Notable figures from Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei to musician Charli XCX have voiced support for the group. 

Nadya Tolokonnikova told Dazed earlier this week that the group were concerned about the protester’s condition in police custody. Russian activist and Putin opponent Alexei Navalny tweeted a video clip of the demonstrators – still in their fake police uniforms – being aggressively interrogated. An off-camera person says, “Sometimes I regret that it’s not 1937,” referencing the era of dictator Joseph Stalin.

Since news of the sentencing, Pussy Riot has released a new song, “Track about Good Cop” – it’s hard-going dance pop that jutters into their more punk roots. It references moments in their previous statement about oppressive policing. 

“Affairs with the power are not beautiful,” they sing, as men and women in Russian police uniforms dance. “There’s plenty of buzz in life without pulling your badge out/ Your affairs with power are careless/ It will betray you/ You will go to Siberia/ She will go to eternity.”

The track dropped on the same day that the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Russia for its treatment of Pussy Riot back in 2012. According to Politico, the court ruled that Russia violated five articles of the European Convention on Human Rights when it detained the band after performing their punk prayer in a protest at a Moscow cathedral. Maria Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova were imprisoned for almost two years. The Court highlighted the “overcrowded conditions” and “humiliation” the women endured during the precedings. Russia has been ordered to pay €48,760 in damages.

According to Pussy Riot’s official Twitter, Pyotr will be held in a facility in Mnevniki, while Veronika, Olga, and Olga will serve their sentence in Simferopolsky.