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Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it has a variable membership of approximately 11 women ranging in age from about 20 to 33. They stage unauthorized provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet. Their lyrical themes include feminism, LGBT rights, opposition to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator, and links between Putin and the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church.

On February 21, 2012, five members of the group staged a performance in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Their actions were stopped by church security officials. By that evening, they had turned the performance into a music video entitled "Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!" The women said their protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leader's 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. A third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was arrested on March 16. Denied bail, they were held in custody until their trial began in late July. On August 17, 2012, the three members were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred", and each was sentenced to two years imprisonment. Two other members of the group, who escaped arrest after February's protest, reportedly left Russia fearing prosecution. On October 10, following an appeal, Samutsevich was freed on probation, her sentence suspended. The sentences of the other two women were upheld. In late October 2012, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were sent to separate prisons.

The trial and sentence attracted considerable criticism, particularly in the West. The case was adopted by human rights groups including Amnesty International, which designated the women prisoners of conscience, and by a number of prominent entertainers. Public opinion in Russia was generally less sympathetic towards the women. Putin stated that the band had "undermined the moral foundations" of the nation and "got what they asked for". Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he did not think the three members of Pussy Riot should have been sent to jail, but stressed that the release of the remaining two imprisoned members was a matter for the courts. Having served 21 months, Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released on December 23, 2013 after the State Duma approved an amnesty.

Vlad, in addition to having the perkiest nipples of any major world leader which he loves to expose at every opportunity by posing topless, is a 16 year veteran of the KGB, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  To note he's a ruthless corrupt despot is as obvious as pointing out that homophobic persecution is symptomatic of individuals who have unresolved issues with their own sexual desires.

Just saying.

Before taping today, though maybe they'll reiterate it, Pussy Riot said that now that Jake and Elwood were out of Joliet they'll be putting the band back together with "Too Big" Hall, "The Colonel" Cropper, Donald "Duck" Dunn, "Murph" Dunne, Alan Rubin, "Blue Lou" Marini and Matt "Guitar" Murphy.

Pussy Riot tell New York ahead of Sochi they will perform again
By Edith Honan, Reuters
NEW YORK Tue Feb 4, 2014 7:16pm EST

Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot may have remade themselves as global human rights advocates since their imprisonment for hooliganism, but on Tuesday they vowed to return to the stage as performers.

"It's absolutely impossible to take this out of us," Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24 told a New York news conference ahead of Pussy Riot's appearance at an Amnesty International concert on Wednesday, a day before the Winter Olympics open in Sochi, Russia.

Tolokonnikova and her bandmate, Maria Alyokhina, 25, will be introduced at the Amnesty concert by pop star Madonna, and will speak but are not expected to perform at the event.

Have I mentioned Free YouTube Download?  Not that I approve of piracy (argh), but I imagine there will be an (ahem) unexpected absence soon.  In any event it's not my problem.

So Stephen has the 'get' and Jon counters with Elizabeth Banks.  While I hope she'll talk about her role in The Lego Movie I suspect conversation will revolve around her parts in The Hunger Games or Walk of Shame.

If Pussy Riot didn't remind you, there are only 2 days until Opening Ceremony and I can't help but notice a distinct lack of volunteers.  I've stepped up for the rest of this week-

The Daily Show

* Wednesday 2/5: George Clooney
* Thursday 2/6: Robyn Doolittle

The Colbert Report

* Wednesday 2/5: Lake Street Dive
* Thursday 2/6: Charlie Crist

what are you willing to contribute to keep Cheers serving and fern free?

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