Pussy Riot Members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Arrested in Sochi

Pussy Riot Members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Arrested in Sochi
Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the Russian punk activists and Pussy Riot members who were released from prison in December, have been arrested in Sochi. According to reports, they had travelled to the Olympic city to hold an anti-Putin performance with Pussy Riot but they were detained before they could do so — because they were reportedly suspected of stealing a woman's handbag.

Speaking with the Guardian from the police station, Tolokonnikova explained what happened.

"We were just walking around Sochi when they grabbed us," she said. "They told us we are suspected of theft. Of course there has been no theft."

Both women and their Pussy Riot collaborators were released from the police station early Tuesday evening (February 18) after only spending a few hours detained by police. Upon their release, the group apparently pulled out their now trademark balaclavas and began singing in front of the police station.

"We are in Sochi to hold a Pussy Riot action," Tolokonnikova wrote on Twitter. "The song is called, 'Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland.'"

Tolokonnikova also tweeted that this isn't the first time they've been detained by police this month. "On the 16th we were detained for seven hours," she said. "On the 17th, we spent 10 hours with the F.S.B. and today we are in a police wagon, accused of theft."

This is just the latest obstacle in what's been a trying year for Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova. Earlier this month, anonymous members of Pussy Riot shared an open letter saying the two could no longer be part of the group. Tolokonnikova countered the statement by saying, "Pussy Riot can be anyone, and no one can be excluded from Pussy Riot. Pussy Riot can only grow."