Pussy Riot members sentenced to prison for invading pitch at FIFA world cup finals

Veronica “Nika” Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova, and Pyotr Verzilov have all been sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest after interrupting the FIFA 2018 finals.


                            Pussy Riot members sentenced to prison for invading pitch at FIFA world cup finals

Four Pussy Riot members rushed onto the field wearing police uniforms during the final game between France and Croatia at the FIFA 2018 World Cup on Sunday. The four protestors — Veronica “Nika” Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova and Pyotr Verzilov — have been sentenced to “15 days of administrative arrest,” the band confirmed through its official Twitter account. Additionally, they are prohibited from attending sporting events for three years.

As the BBC reports, three of the protesters were women - all regular members of the usually all female feminist outfit - but they were were accompanied by a fourth member, a male, later identified as Pyotr Verzilov, husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the Pussy Riot members who was arrested during the infamous 2012 guerilla protest against Russia President Vladimir Putin.

The report also confirms that while one of the members of the Moscow-based protest punk rock act managed to score a high five with French star Kylian Mbappé, Pyotr was grabbed in anger by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren. After the incident, Lovren told reporters: "I just lost my head and I grabbed the guy and I wished I could throw him away from the stadium." 

The incident interrupted the second half of the match for about 25 seconds, which France went on to win 4-2, but that was enough for the punk rockers to grab the nation (and the world's) attention. Moments after the on-field disruption, Pussy Riot claimed responsibility for the pitch invasion in a statement on social media. After saying it was a protest of Russia’s political and prison systems, they shared a list of demands to the Russian government: "Free all political prisoners",  "Stop illegal arrests at public rallies", "Allow political competition in the country", "Stop fabricating criminal cases and jailing people on remand for no reason." See Pussy Riot's full statement below in English via their Facebook page:



Formed in 2011, Pussy Riot is one of the most vocal protestors of Putin and his regime. The group is infamous for their guerrilla performances in public places, that are often filmed as music videos and posted on the Internet as a sign of protest. Their lyrical themes touch upon feminism, LGBT rights and other tough issues in Russia as well as open disregard for Putin, often calling him a dictator and comparing his regime to the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. Pussy Riot gained global notoriety when five members of the group were arrested after they staged a performance inside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 2012. Since then, the group has stayed politically active, sporadically indulging in such grand protests to put their voice out.

The statement issued by the band also included a link to a video that explained Pussy Riot's agenda as well as a clip of the field-rushing incident during the finals. Watch the video below via Pussy Riot's YouTube page: