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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Pussy Riot Films Dramatic Thank-You Stunt

APA photo of Putin burning after Pussy Riot members ignited it as part of a video thanking supportive musicians.

Members ofpunk band Pussy Riot have released a video inwhich they thank musicians Madonna andBjork fortheir support ofthe group while they rappel down theside ofan abandoned building andburn apicture ofPresident Vladimir Putin.

Thegroup released thevideo apparently inresponse toquestions submitted toit byAmerican television network MTV ahead ofthe MTV Video Music Awards, which aired inthe States on Thursday evening.

MTV News said inan article that it had asked Pussy Riot torespond tothe prominent musicians around theworld who have expressed support forthe group, three ofwhose members were sentenced totwo years inprison last month forperforming ananti-Putin song ina Moscow church.

Inthe 1-minute 15-second video, three women wearing thegroup's trademark colorful balaclavas, short dresses andstockings are shown onthe roof ofan abandoned concrete building.

Thewomen speak emphatically inEnglish about their fight against theauthorities andcall Putin andstrongman Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko "evil men."

"We've been fighting forthe right tosing, tothink, tocriticize," awoman ina green knit balaclava says toopen thevideo.

"To be musicians andartists, ready to do everything to change our country, no matter therisks," another female voice follows.

Thewomen, while rappelling down theside ofthe building, thank singers Madonna andBjork as well as thebands Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day and other musicians, for supporting Pussy Riot. Madonna andRed Hot Chili Peppers have expressed support forthe women inconcerts inMoscow andSt. Petersburg inrecent months.

Thewomen then condemn Putin andLukashenko, saying they are intolerant ofpolitical opposition andsupport ofgays andlesbians. Two ofthe women then light flares andburn aphoto ofPutin hanging fromthe building.

Amember ofGreen Day wore a"Free Pussy Riot" T-shirt atthe MTV Video Music Awards onThursday, theLos Angeles Times reported. It was unclear whether thelatest Pussy Riot video was shown during theLos Angeles ceremony, atwhich avariety ofawards were given out topopular musicians. The video was posted on MTV's website, mtv.com.

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, andYekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were sentenced onAug. 17 bya Moscow court totwo years inprison fortheir February "punk prayer" inChrist theSavior Cathedral inwhich they denounced Putin andRussian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill.

World-famous musicians have backed thewomen's right tofree speech, andhuman rights groups andWestern governments have condemned their jail sentence as disproportionate.

A group of Russian musicians planned to play at a benefit concert in support of the band in St. Petersburg late Sunday.

Glavclub's owner Igor Tonkikh, the only owner of a large club in the city to agree to host the charity show, asked the organizers to get at least some kind of "permit" from the police that would guarantee the venue would not be shut down on the day of the concert, he said earlier at a news conference.

Tonkikh said he had started receiving threatening calls from the police and other authorities. The police denied they had called the venue and said no permit for holding concerts was needed, Rosbalt reported last week.

DDT, Televizor, Electric Guerillas and Gleb Samoilov signed up to take part, as well as some younger bands who offered to play, but several acts refused to take part, most notably Boris Grebenshchikov of Akvarium.

Separately, Lech Walesa, Poland's Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said he had sent a letter to Putin urging him to release the three band members sentenced last month, Reuters reported Friday.


"I'm not familiar with Russian law, but I'm calling on President Putin to liberate the girls if the law allows that," Walesa, who served as a president of post-Communist Poland, told Reuters in an interview.

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