Pussy Riot Member Freed, Two Bandmates Remain in Moscow Prison
Pussy Riot Member Freed, Two Bandmates Remain in Moscow Prison

The Russian band/art collective known as Pussy Rio has released a new song entitled "Putin Lights Up the Fires." The news follows the guilty verdict and two-year sentence a Russian court handed the band last Friday (Aug. 17) on charges of "hooliganism driven by religious hatred" for performing an anti-Putin song in Moscow's main cathedral last February.

The Guardian website has edited the new song into a video photo montage of Pussy Riot members and their supporters (above).

With lyrics like "Putin is lighting the fires of revolution" and "The country is going, the country is going into the streets boldly," the raw, punk anthem is both a call to arms and a further attack on the Putin regime's legitimacy. The song's last line, "Go and marry Father Lukashenko" references the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko who has ruled the country since 1994 and is often referred to as Europe's last dictator. (Full song lyrics below.)

Pussy Riot Sentenced to Two Years By Russian Court (Updated)

"Putin Lights Up the Fires" is the group's first release since "Virgin Mary, Please Drive Putin Away" (commonly referred to as the "punk prayer), the song Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samucevich performed at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ Our Savior in February. The trio called for the Virgin Mary to protect Russia against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a new term as Russia's president two weeks later.

Reaction to the harsh verdict shocked many of the band's worldwide supporters. Madonna, who has been an outspoken critic of the Russian authorities arrest of Pussy Riot, called the group's guilty verdict and two-year sentence "inhumane." In a Facebook post she wrote: "Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They've spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free."

According to news reports, Russian authorities are now seeking other members of Pussy Riot who may have taken part in the anti-Putin protest at the cathedral, though no new suspects have been named. Two more women sporting the group's trademarked brightly colored balaclavas performed with the group at the February 21 protest.

Madonna Gives Support To Russia's Imprisoned Pussy Riot at Moscow Show Despite Threats of Violence

In related news, the Associated Press reports that Russian opposition leader and chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov has been called for questioning after a police officer accused him of biting his hand while he was being detained at a protest in support of Pussy Riot. Kasparov, the former world chess champion and anti-Vladimir Putin activist, denies the claims saying he's planning to file a complaint against his detention and a libel case against his accuser and that he submitted videos of his arrest that prove his innocence "beyond a reasonable doubt."


Lyrics To "Putin Lights Up the Fires"

This state may be stronger than time in jail.
The more arrests, the happier it is.
Every arrest is carried out with love for the sexist
Who botoxed his cheeks and pumped his chest and abs.
But you can't nail us in the coffin.
Throw off the yoke of former KGB!
Putin is lighting the fires of revolution
He's bored and scared of sharing silence with the people
With every execution: the stench of rotten ash
With every long sentence: a wet dream
The country is going, the country is going into the streets boldly
The country is going, the country is going to bid farewell to the regime
The country is going, the country is going, like a feminist wedge
And Putin is going, Putin is going to say goodbye like a sheep
Arrest the whole city for May 6th
Seven years isn't enough, give us 18!
Forbid us to scream, walk and curse!
Go and marry Father Lukashenko

Translation credit: @Russian_Market