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Pussy Riot Attacked With Whips By Russian Militia

February 19, 2014  |  4:45pm
Pussy Riot Attacked With Whips By Russian Militia

Fair warning on this one: Get ready to be disgusted and horrified, especially if you watch the video embedded below.

The punk group Pussy Riot were attacked today in Sochi while staging an impromptu performance under a sign advertising the Olympic games. Five women and one man donned their signature ski masks, and, as they began to perform, were immediately set upon by Cossacks—members of the ‘people’s militia’ loyal to Putin—and other security forces. They were whipped, pushed, punched, thrown to the ground and otherwise assaulted in an encounter that last about three minutes.

Last March, the New York Times ran a piece on the resurgent Cossack movement in Russia, calling them a “mascot” for Putin. Before the Bolsheviks, the Cossacks were horseback warriors who secured and expanded the Russian frontier. There’s debate about whether they represent a discrete ethnic group, and even from which groups they descend. They were nearly wiped from existence by the Bolsheviks, who deported tens of thousands during a purge known as “De-Cossackization.” Now, according to the Times, “the Cossack revival is more than an idea. Regional leaders are granting them an increasing role in law enforcement, in some cases explicitly asking them to stem an influx of ethnic minorities, mainly Muslims from the Caucasus, into territory long dominated by Orthodox Slavs.” They carry whips, and there’s a movement in Russia to let them carry “nontraumatic guns.” Many citizens fear them more than the police because they’re not restrained by the same rules.

Police made no arrests in this incident, and one guitar was smashed in the attack. Earlier this week, Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova told reporters the group was in Sochi to carry out “Pussy Riot action,” and would perform a new song called, “Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland.”

The video is below courtesy of The Telegraph, and again, be warned that it contains graphic violence.

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