MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. A Russian magistrates court has ordered member of the Pussy Riot punk band Olga Kuracheva and Voina art group leader Pyotr Verzilov to pay a 1,500-ruble ($24) fine for illegally wearing police uniforms when rushing to the pitch during the 2018 FIFA World Cup final, a TASS correspondent reported.
The court finds Kuracheva and Verzilov guilty under Article 17.12 of the Russian Criminal Court (illegally wearing official army or police uniform) and imposes a penalty of an administrative fine of 1,500 rubles, the judge said.
During the hearing, the lawyer said his client Verzilov was wearing police uniform "as a means of an artistic image." The court rejected the attorney’s demand to question the police officers who had signed a protocol.
Verzilov, who was also questioned as a witness, told the court: "Kuracheva wore the uniform to attract public attention to the problems in the law enforcement bodies."
Kuracheva rejected all the charges, comparing herself to an actor at the theater and the cinema "who wears different clothes to create an image." "The image of a policeman was authentic," she said.
The court is due to consider a similar penalty for other Pussy Riot members - Olga Pakhtusova and Veronika Nikulshina, who face fines ranging from 1,000 rubles ($15) to 1,500 rubles ($24).
During the final match of the FIFA World Cup at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on July 15 the Voina art group leader and three Pussy Riot members rushed to the football field dressed in police uniforms.
Police launched administrative cases against three young women and the man. Moscow’s Khamovniki district court sentenced them to a 15-day administrative arrest. The court barred them from visiting official sports events for three years.
No one of those detained has pleaded guilty. Pussy Riot claimed that the demonstration had been inspired by poet Dmitry Prigov, who created the image of a fair "heavenly" policeman in the Russian culture.
Pussy Riot gained notoriety for its controversial performance in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012. Three group members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich - were found guilty of hooliganism based on religious hatred. Each of them was sentenced to two years in a general correctional facility. On October 10, 2012, the Moscow City Court commuted Samutsevich’s prison term to a suspended sentence. Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were released in December 2013 under an amnesty marking the 20th anniversary of Russia's constitution.