Meeting Pussy Riot - Henry Langston | Mapmakers |

   Odds are you've heard of Pussy Riot. They're an anonymous feminist punk band with openly anti-Putin lyrics who refuse to play in normal venues and seek to bring down the Russian government. They formed last September after Putin announced he'd stand again for the presidency in March 2012—a scary prospect for many since poverty, terror attacks, corruption, and the loss of civil rights have been the hallmarks of his reign at the Kremlin.

   Since their formation Pussy Riot have made headlines with a series of illegal guerilla performances that included playing "Revolt in Russia" on the symbolic Red Square in January 2012. Ultimately they were arrested under Russia's strict illegal protest laws, but at the time all eight bandmates were released to fight another day.

   Unfortunately that day didn't last long. On February 21 the band staged a final high-profile performance at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral, and were arrested for charges stemming from the show a few days later, just before the March 3 election that saw Putin's return to power.

   This time not all of them were released: Two members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhin are still in custody and have started a hunger strike, proclaiming they won't stop until they're returned to their children. Three of them are found guilty, and face up to two years in prison. Below is an interview I did with the band in the middle of February, days before their arrest.