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Pussy Riot members to shift from music to human rights activism

After its "punk prayer" protest against Vladimir Putin in 2012, Pussy Riot was the most dangerous band in the world. The collective mixed performance art, feminism, radical politics and humor, and two of its members were banished to a Siberian gulag for punishment (a third was released on appeal).

The former two, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were finally released this week. They announced, in a news conference, that after their ordeal, they will be turning their activism away from music and performances toward a more concise critique of the Russian penal system and human rights abuses.

Alyokhina told the Associated Press, "We're not going to give shows .... We're just not interested." 

RELATED: Still defiant, members of Pussy Riot go free

But Tolokonnikova added the while the tactics were changing, the goals remained largely the same -- drawing attention to what they see as Putin's abuses of power, silencing of critics and deplorable conditions for the imprisoned.

"The scariest thing about Putin's Russia is the impossibility to speak and be heard," Tolokonnikova said, the AP reported. "We still want to do what we said in our last performance for which we spent two years in prison: drive him away."

The group also had scathing words about the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, which they believed prompted their release to rebuff recent criticism over Russia's human rights abuses and strict anti-gay policies.

According to the New York Times, Tolokonnikova said the Games were “Putin’s pet project,” and "anybody attending them would be supporting him.” 

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