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Two Pussy Riot Members Seek Asylum in Sweden

Lusine Dschanjan and Alexej Knedljakowski, members of the Moscow-based feminist punk-rock band Pussy Riot, have applied for political asylum in Sweden with their young son, fearing persecution in Russia. According to Euronews, Djanyan and Knedljakowski have been living in a refugee center in Lindesberg for ten months, waiting for their application to be approved by the Swedish Migration Agency.

Known for provocative music videos and rebellious demonstrations in public places, Pussy Riot first gained global attention in 2012, when the eleven band members donned masks and staged a protest performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, criticizing Russian president Vladimir Putin, whom they consider a dictator. Two members of the group were arrested for hooliganism and served two-year sentences in prison. In 2015, Dschanjan, along with four others, made an official complaint to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the lack of investigation by Russian law enforcement after an incident in February 2014 in which Pussy Riot members were attacked with whips and pepper spray by security guards in Sochi during a protest under an Olympic banner.

Both Dschanjan and Knedljakowski had artwork included in an exhibition titled “Inside Pussy Riot,” held at Saatchi Gallery in London last year.

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