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Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov arrest
Press service of the Internal Affairs Directorate in the Central Administrative District

A Pussy Riot activist has been arrested for wearing a police uniform

Pyotr Verzilov also reportedly broke quarantine rules while filming a parody clip about Moscow’s coronavirus response

The Pussy Riot member, artist, and publisher of the independent legal news site Mediazona Pyotr Verzilov was arrested in Moscow yesterday (April 17), as reported by the Latvia-based news site Meduza. 

Verzilov was detained by police for wearing a police officer’s uniform in public, and will also face charges for violating self-quarantine rules. Though the activist wasn’t named in the police report, his face can be clearly identified.

In a video tweeted following (and referencing) his arrest Verzilov also appears wearing the police uniform. 

The video, seemingly a parody of Moscow’s digital permit system – which has attracted criticism for crashing on release, as well as its potential to increase surveillance and restrictions – shows him requesting permit numbers from other activists, including Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina, who have the numbers written under their eyes or on their teeth.

Verzilov and Nikulshina have donned police uniforms before, for their protest at the 2018 World Cup, where they invaded the pitch alongside other Pussy Riot members to demonstrate against human rights abuses, police brutality, and corrupt authority. 

Following the protest, they were both subjected to a series of arrests and, in September 2018, Verzilov was hospitalised due to a suspected poisoning.