Whip-Wielding Russia Militia Roughs Up Pussy Riot
Members get roughed up at performance, though no one was arrested
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2014 11:47 AM CST

(Newser) – Things got nasty in Sochi today when Pussy Riot tried to perform an anti-Putin protest song. Cossack militia members descended on six members of the group (this time including one man) just as they were starting to perform, reports AP. Video shows the officers using horsewhips and roughly pulling the ski masks off band members. One reportedly used pepper spray. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, recently released after a stint in prison, even got whipped as she lay on the ground.

Russian police arrived after a few minutes, and nobody got arrested. The Washington Post provides some background on the Cossacks, previously known for their pogroms against Jews. "Today they are socially conservative and ardent supporters of the Russian Orthodox Church. Recently, they have been revived as a sort of volunteer citizen patrol, and about 800 of them have supplemented the police providing security for the Winter Games." Yesterday, Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were detained for hours and accused of theft, but were eventually released without charges.