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Pussy Riot Member Has 'No Regrets'

Yekaterina Samutsevich reflects a year after group's protest

Yekaterina Samutsevich of Pussy Riot.
ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images
February 21, 2013 11:40 AM ET

Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich marked the anniversary of the group's famous protest in a Moscow cathedral by telling The Associated Press that she has "no regrets of the performance." Though Samutsevich and two bandmates were arrested, she said their action raised awareness in Russia of the close ties between the government and the Russian Orthodox Church.

"Many people who did not know about the problem became aware of it: the problem in our society, in the Russian Church," she said.

Pussy Riot: Their Trial in Pictures

Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina staged a "punk prayer" protest last year against Russian President Vladimir Putin when he was running for re-election. All three were arrested on charges of hooliganism and, after they were convicted in a trial widely derided as a political show intended to chill dissent, sentenced to two years in prison.

Samutsevich was freed on appeal in October, but Alekhina's plea to defer her sentence to care for her five-year-old child was was denied in January. Russia last month also banned footage of the performance. Pussy Riot have maintained the performance was not targeting religion, but rather expressing their concern over connections between the church and the Russian government.

Though Samutsevich was proud of Pussy Riot's work, she said that in hindsight, she "would have thought more about legal defense."

The group is the subject of the new documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, which debuted last month at the Sundance Film Festival.

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