One of the biggest stories to hit the international registry over the past few years was the jailing of the all-woman punk rock band Pussy Riot by the Russian government in early March following a wild punk-inspired protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. The court case garnered international attention as the world’s focus narrowed on human rights abuses by the Kremlin, making the three imprisoned Pussy Riot members international celebrities in the process.
Russia is again in the spotlight as of late, the twenty-second running of the Winter Olympic games begins in Sochi, Russia in just two days. On December 23, 2013, the last two members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were released from prison. The release was viewed by many as a public relations move for the regime, plagued by allegations of human rights abuses towards women and homosexuals, as well as several explosions that rocked train stations near the site of the games last month. Upon her release, Alyokhina said to the New York Times, “I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics — particularly for the Western Europeans. But I don’t consider this humane or merciful. This is a lie.” Tolokonnikova added, “Whether one likes it or not, going to the Olympics in Russia is an acceptance of the internal political situation in Russia, an acceptance of the course taken by a person who is interested in the Olympics above all else — Vladimir Putin.” The trio, who have vowed to not perform musically anymore, appeared last night on The Colbert Report to discuss their experiences and what’s next for them and Russia proper. Watch the video above.