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Pussy Riot are free!

Pussy Riot’s Nadezhda Tolokonnikova on release (via @tamagna71)
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Thanks to that Russian amnesty that just passed, Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova will be home for Christmas. The two were just released from prison where they were supposed to serve sentence till March:

“Two months out of the almost two years that the girls have served is not much,” Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, told CNN. “So the effect of this amnesty for Maria and Nadezhda is not really felt.”

The Russian government said the amnesty marked the anniversary of the adoption of Russia’s post-Communist constitution in 1993.

But Tolokonnikova, released from a Siberian facility on Monday, told CNN she felt that the amnesty was a publicity stunt to bolster the government’s image before it hosts the Winter Olympics in February. Verzilov said much the same.

“President Putin obviously used this amnesty option to (brighten) up his image before the Olympic games,” Verzilov said.

Russia’s record on human rights is in the spotlight as the country prepares to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Pussy Riot’s 2012 performance of a “punk prayer” that criticized Putin, who was prime minister at the time, was held at a Russian Orthodox cathedral. The musicians were found guilty of hooliganism.

Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike during her prison term to protest what she said were poor conditions at a Mordovian prison. In October, she was transferred to a Siberian facility for medical treatment, and she remained there until her release Monday.

She said Monday that she is eager to help Russian prisoners by calling attention to conditions they face. But first, she said, she is looking forward to reuniting with family, including her 5-year-old daughter in Moscow. – [CNN]

No matter the reasons, great news they are finally out.

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