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Pussy Riot interrupts a World Cup that was otherwise fairly free of political conversation




A pitch invader, a member of the Russian protest-art group Pussy Riot, is escorted by stewards during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018.
A pitch invader, a member of the Russian protest-art group Pussy Riot, is escorted by stewards during the Russia 2018 World Cup final football match between France and Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 15, 2018.
MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images

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If you were watching the World Cup Sunday night, you may have seen three women and one man dressed as police officers rushing the field and disrupting the France/Croatia final game.

These were members of Pussy Riot, the Russian protest group, who said they were making a point about Russian policing and the jailing of citizens for political crimes, such as “liking” certain posts on social media.

This was a move of protest in the context of a World Cup that has been fairly free of conversation about Russia’s human rights record. Why haven’t there been any other statements about Russian politics during this month of soccer matches? What is the history of Pussy Riot and political protest in contemporary Russia?

With guest host Libby Denkmann.

Guests:

Yuval Weber, expert on Russian domestic politics and international security; associate professor at the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security; his forthcoming book is "Designed to Fail: Patterns in Russian Economic Reform, 1860-2018" (Fall 2018, Agenda/Columbia University Press)

Yoshiko Herrera, professor of political science specializing in Russia and the former Soviet states at the University of Wisconsin-Madison