Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it had a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33 (as of 2012).The group staged unauthorized provocative guerrilla performances in public places, performances that were filmed as music videos and posted on the Internet. The collective’s lyrical themes included feminism, LGBT rights, and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom the group considered to be a dictator, and his policies. These themes also encompassed Putin’s links to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The group gained global notoriety when five members of the group staged a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21, 2012. The group’s actions were condemned as sacrilegious by the Orthodox clergy and eventually stopped by church security officials. The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leaders‘ support for Putin during his election campaign. On March 3, 2012, two of the group members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested and charged with hooliganism.
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