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Pussy Riot Members Condemn Putin’s Oil Ties
'We're not going anywhere,' band tells Rolling Stone

Masked members of the Russian punk act Pussy Riot storm an oil field, climb an operating rig and smear crude oil on portraits of Vladimir Putin's petroleum allies in the video for a new song titled "Like a Red Prison."

Its translated lyrics denounce Putin as "Iran's ayatollah" and protest his "evildoers at the oil towers," among them Igor Sechin of Rosneft, Russia's top oil producer: "You have a president like Iran's ayatollah/And your church is like it is in the U.A.E.," the singer howls.

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Almost a year after three of Pussy Riot's members were sentenced for protesting Putin at one of Moscow's holiest places, this latest stunt promises to further inflame tensions with the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church. In February 2012, during a one-minute performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the group called on the Virgin Mary to "please drive Putin away." Three members were later convicted of hooliganism, an act the government argued was driven by religious hatred. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, both mothers in their twenties, are serving a two-year sentence until March; a bandmate is free on appeal. Musicians including Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney and Madonna have called for their release.

Members of Pussy Riot were briefly detained while shooting the new video."As they say in Russia, you can't get by without the odd quarrel with the police," the band tells Rolling Stone by email. "We're in Russia, we're not going anywhere. Let Putin and Sechin leave!"

While Tolokonnikova wrote some of the new song's lyrics from prison, authorities recently transferred Alyokhina to another prison in central Russia, without explanation. Pussy Riot's punk-rock lineup of anonymous activists – numerous women clad in masks and bold colors – has for two years rejected Russian rule as "based exclusively on the oppression of women, LGBT communities, atheists and other social groups," as stated in a translated passage from the band's blog.

The video's release coincides with Edward Snowden's request to Russia for asylum. Also this week, an Orthodox Church youth group released a video game that encourages players to kill Pussy Riot members.

Additional reporting by Patrick Reevell


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