Pussy Riot (band)
Artist: Pussy Riot
Date of Action: February 2012 - present
Location: Moscow, Russia
Confronting Bodies: Russian Orthodox Church, FSB Special Department on Terrorism
Description of Artwork: Pussy Riot is a "Russian feminist punk band" that performs in public places with a high flow of people, such as central parks and religious establishments. Pussy Riot's overall message is one of gender equality, democracy, and unequivocal freedom of expression; they also explicitly oppose the re-election of Vladimir Putin. In order to protect their identities, the band's members wear ski masks; though these costumes keep Pussy Riot anonymous, they are brightly colored to attract attention.
The Incident: On February 21, 2012, Pussy Riot performed a minute-long "punk prayer" in Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral. They centered the performance at the church's altar because it is "a place where women's entrance is strictly forbidden." Guards forcefully removed the band members from the venue. Just hours later, a video of the performance was uploaded on to Youtube and quickly gained over half a million views. Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church drafts the Special Department on Terrorism to arrest the members of Pussy Riot on charges of hooliganism, which can result in up to seven years in prison. On March 4, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova -- both activists -- are incarcerated under suspicion of being involved in Pussy Riot; both women refuse to eat or speak. This incarceration violates a Russian law which states that 48 hours is the maximum amount of time a suspect can be held without charges filed beforehand. On March 15, Ekaterina Samutsevic is arrested and the three women are officially charged with "hooliganism." The Russian Orthodox Church issued a statement calling for the "strictest possible measures to be taken" against these "blasphemous women."
Results of Incident: On June 20, 2012, The Tagansky district court decided to keep the three activists in custody until a full investigation could be made. On June 25, members of President Putin’s United Russia Party announced they will work to change Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code, so that specific charges may be filed for insult on the basis of religion. Infractions against this law would be punishable with up to two years in prison.
Source: UPDATE (8/17/12): A Moscow judge found Tolokonnikova
, Alekhina, and Samutsevich guilty of hooliganism fueled by religious hatred, [[has source link::and sentenced all three women to two years in prison. 
See also http://freepussyriot.org/content/lyrics-songs-pussy-riot for lyrics to the song that was performed in Christ Church cathedral.]]