Margaret Eby
December 30, 2014 11:13 am

The badass ladies of Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot are back with a vengeance this week, in honor of a protest planned on Tuesday in support of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Navalny is a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who is facing 10 years in prison for what the state says are fraud charges. Pussy Riot and other Navalny supporters believe that, in fact, he’s being punished for his political views. The protest is timed to coincide with the Russian courts ruling on Navalny’s case.

In honor of Navalny, Pussy Riot released a music video called “The Witches of Pussy Riot Clean Manezha,” in which members Maria Alekhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova don evening gowns in order to sweep up the square where demonstrators are set to gather. It ends with the women flying into the night. A lot of gender issues being brought to the foreground here — traditional expectations of women’s beauty and roles, plus that whole witch thing. Then using all of these things as assertions of power.

“This is above all a propaganda video,” Tolokonnikova told BuzzFeed News. “We’re calling on people to follow the example of the witches and come out onto Manezhka and fly in the direction of the Kremlin.”

Tolokonnikova and her fellow Pussy Riot members were released from jail last December. The group, which gained international fame after being sentenced to prison for “hooliganism” following a performance against Putin in a Moscow church, released its last video during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

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