Sochi police refuse to press charges in connection with attack on Pussy Riot members

posted 13 Apr 2014, 07:27 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Apr 2014, 07:32 ]
10 April 2014

Source: (info

Illustration by Georgy Titov for
Local lawyer Aleksandr Popkov has reported via Twitter that the Sochi police have refused to press criminal charges against the Cossacks involved in the attack on Pussy Riot members. According to Popkov, the investigators believe that the attackers’ actions cannot be deemed criminal in spite of the fact that the assault was confirmed by forensic evidence.

As reported by, the lawyer claims that the police decision has already been rescinded by the public prosecutor’s office, “but on formal grounds, and not for long”. Popkov is sure that “another refusal will be issued”.

"The poor old police officers haven’t even managed to apprehend all of the Cossack attackers or to question those identified by bloggers,” added the lawyer. “The chieftains Kuts and Koskin are in hiding.”

The attack on Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Mariya Alekhina, other Pussy Riot members and their companions took place on 19 February while the group was recording a video for the song “Putin will teach you to love the Motherland” during the Sochi Olympics. The Cossacks hit the women with whips and sprayed them in the face with pepper gas.

Petr Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s husband, was hospitalised due to eye injuries, and the artist Aleksey Knedlyakovsky suffered a split eyebrow. Tolokonnikova herself suffered bruising to the chest from blows with batons, and Alekhina a cut to her finger. All of this happened in front of the police officers accompanying the Cossacks.

The Kuban governor, Aleksandr Tkachev, asked for the incident to be investigated and the culprits to be brought to justice. He noted that Pussy Riot’s views were not shared by the majority of those living in the region. “Nevertheless, all those responsible for what has happened should definitely be punished,” said the official.

The police had earlier refused to press charges following the attack on Tolokonnikova and Alekhina which took place in March in Nizhny Novgorod. The security officials said that administrative sanctions had been imposed on the attackers on the grounds of minor hooliganism, but that their actions could not be deemed criminal.

Translated by Joanne Reynolds