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Pussy Riot Member Accused of 'Insulting Religious Sensibilities'

Nadya Tolokonnikova. Evan Agostini / AP / TASS

Russia has opened a criminal case against Pussy Riot founding member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova for allegedly “insulting religious sensibilities,” human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov said on his Telegram channel on Wednesday.

The Investigative Committee opened the case due to various of Tolokonnikova’s posts on social media, Chikov said, adding that a series of police searches had been carried out as part of the investigation, though he gave no further details.

Which of Tolokonnikova's social media posts prompted the charges is also yet to be established.

“Dear Investigative Committee of Russia. Stop f***ing around threatening political activists with more criminal cases. Go after actual criminals, such as the war criminal Vladimir Putin. Best of luck,” Tolokonnikova said in a statement on Pussy Riot's Instagram.

Tolokonnikova — who currently lives in the U.S. — is no stranger to run-ins with law enforcement, and was designated a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities in 2021.

Tolokonnikova was among the original members of Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in prison for their 2012 protest performance in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral that criticized the Russian Orthodox Church for its close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

Since then, the group has continued to stage provocative guerrilla performances, including protests against the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia’s lack of political plurality.

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