It seems it will take more than a two-year prison sentence to silence the rebellious members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot.
The three Russian women — given guilty verdicts on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred on Aug. 17, after they performed an anti-Kremlin song and dance in Moscow’s revered Orthodox cathedral — remain defiant even as they languish in jail.
“Our verdict shows just how scared Putin’s regime is of anyone who can undermine its legitimacy,” said band member Yekaterina Samutsevich, in response to written questions posed by the Guardian newspaper, via her lawyer. “Of course, we didn’t expect a not-guilty verdict,” she added. “To expect justice from a court that ignores all your objections is of course impossible. So we weren’t shocked and, to the dismay of our enemies, didn’t faint when we got the verdict.”
It seems, though, that the verdict spooked other band members. The Associated Press reports that two members of Pussy Riot not charged in the initial incident fled Russia over the weekend to avoid prosecution. Moscow police reportedly had difficulty identifying all the participants in the balaclava-clad February protest and have only arrested the three women. But days after their conviction, cops cautioned that they were still searching for the other renegades — clearly spooking the two who fled.
Pussy Riot took to Twitter to announce the departures, while simultaneously mentioning the group is “recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new protest actions.”