Everything You Need to Know About Pussy Riot, In One Timeline

 Everything You Need to Know About Pussy Riot, In One Timeline

Imprisoned Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were released three months early on Thursday from Russian jails. The women were sentenced to two years in prison after being charged with hooliganism in June of 2012.

The news has made international headlines since their arrest in March of 2012 after performing a politically-charged song in a Moscow church. The group chose to perform at the church given the strong connections between the Russian Orthodoxy and Putin, who said, "If you're pro Pussy Riot you are against the Orthodox church."

From the song and the arrests to the court case and their final release, a lot has changed in Russia over the past two years. Due to their time in prison, Pussy Riot has gained experience from which to fight for the rights of women and sexual minorities within the country. 

If you haven't been following since February 2012 when the women first performed in the church, here is what you missed:

1. Feb. 21, 2012

Pussy Riot staged a performance on the soleas of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Church security members immediately removed them.

That night, the performance was turned into became a music video: "Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!" The band members told the press that the performance was a riot against the church's support of Putin. and tThe lyrics state,: "Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!"

2. March 3, 2012

Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, were arrested for the "Punk Prayer" performance on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

3. March 16, 2012

Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, was arrested for the "Punk Prayer" performance.

4. June 4, 2012

The group was formally charged. The Russian indictment document was 2,800 pages long.

5. July 4, 2012

Defendants arewere told they havehad until July 9 —, two working days —, to gather their defense. The women then gothen went on a hunger strike, and stateding that five days in total isn't was not enough time to formulate a proper defense.

6. July 30, 2012

The trail officially beginsbegan. The group pleadeds not guilty after having been held in pre-trial detainment since March. They faced up to seven years in prison.

7. August 15, 2012

Protesters wearing balaclavas arrived at the Christ the Savior Cathedral holding signs that readreading,: "Blessed are the merciful." This iswas the first of many protests around the world in support of the group. Many celebrities and public figures came to the defense of Pussy Riot during and after the trailtrial, including: Julian Assange, Beastie Boys, Bjork, The Black Keys, Green Day, Courtney Love, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Corinne Bailey Rae, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alicia Silverstone, and Elijah Woods.

8. Aug. 17, 2012

The three women were convicted and each was sentenced to two years in prison.

9. Aug. 20, 2012

Pussy Riot released a new single following the conviction titled "Putin Lights The Fire Of The Revolution." These are the lyrics of the song, are as follows [as translated by @Russian_Market]:

This state may be stronger than time in jail.

The more arrests, the happier it is.
Every arrest is carried out with love for the sexist

Who botoxed his cheeks and pumped his chest and abs.

But you can't nail us in the coffin. 
Throw off the yoke of former KGB!

Putin is lighting the fires of revolution
He's bored and scared of sharing silence with the people
With every execution: the stench of rotten ash
With every long sentence: a wet dream

The country is going, the country is going into the streets boldly
The country is going, the country is going to bid farewell to the regime
The country is going, the country is going, like a feminist wedge
And Putin is going, Putin is going to say goodbye like a sheep

Arrest the whole city for May 6th
Seven years isn't enough, give us 18!
Forbid us to scream, walk and curse!
Go and marry Father Lukashenko

10. Sept. 13, 2012

The Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev callscalled for the early release of the three women, claiming that their detainment while awaiting trail was punishment enough.

11. Oct. 1, 2012

An appeals hearing for the three women was postponed after Samutsevich informed the judges that she would be terminatinge her current defense team, which included including Violetta Volkova and two additional lawyers. "My position in the criminal case does not coincide with their position," she said.

12. Oct. 7, 2012

Putin spoke out against Pussy Riot. He said, "Their arrest was right and their sentence was right. One must not erode moral fundamentals and undermine the country. What will be left without that ... My first reaction was to apologize to the believers for what they did; I thought that would be the end of it. But the court heard it and sentenced them to two years. I have nothing to do with that. They got what they asked for."

13. Oct. 10, 2012

Samutsevich getsgot new representation by Irina Khrunova, and the appeals court proceededs. 

Khrunova arguesargured that Samutsevich did not participate in the performance given thatas she was not allowed to enter the church after being stopped by church security. Samutsevich wasis released

Aliokhina and Tolokonnikova, both mothers of young children, were ordered to serve the remainder of their sentences. Their lawyers argued to keep the women in Moscow prisons to allow them to be closer to their families. Their request was denied.

14. Oct. 22, 2012

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova awerewere taken to seperate prison colonies. Alyokhina to the Perm region in the Urals, 700 miles from Moscow, and Tolokonnikova to a penal colony in Siberia, four time zones and 2,800 miles away from Moscow. 

15. Nov. 2, 2012

Dmitri Medvedev, the Russia'sn Prime Minister, again stateds that the women should not be in prison. However, he makesde it clear that the decision iswas not up tonot up to him, but rather to the country's court system.

"This is not a question for me, but for our court system and for their defence lawyers." 

16. Nov. 23, 2012

Alyokhina requested to be voluntarily placed in solitary confinement because of "strained relations" to other inmates.

17. Dec. 26, 2012

Samutsevich spoke to the Guardian about the realities of the trial. She said, "More than anything, what many people didn't see during the trial were those moments when our 'right to defence' was violated."

18. Jan. 16, 2013

Alyokhina's appeal ed to defer her sentence toin order to take care of her young son was rejected., Tthe courts statinged that her child was already taken into consideration with the original sentencing. 

19. Feb. 1, 2013

Tolokonnikova distanced herself from Samutsevich in a letter written to her and thenthat was published by her father. In it she states,She wrote, "Samutsevich hasn't written to me for two months. That's it, to me she is already dead. There will be no more talk of collaborating after this."

Tolokonnikova's daughter had just celebrated her second birthday --— without Tolokonnikova present.

20. June 30, 2013

Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill imposing jail time for homosexuality and for insulting people's religious freedoms.

21. Sept. 23, 2013

Tolokonnikova goes on a hunger strike in protest of the human rights violations at her prison. The Guardian translated an open letter from her describing the conditions:

"My brigade in the sewing shop works 16 to 17 hours a day. From 7.30am to 12.30am. At best, we get four hours of sleep a night. We have a day off once every month and a half. We work almost every Sunday ... Once, a 50-year-old woman asked to go back to the residential zone at 8pm instead of 12.30am so she could go to bed at 10 pm and get eight hours of sleep just once a week. She was feeling ill; she had high blood pressure. In response, they held a unit meeting in order to take the woman down, insult and humiliate her, branding her a parasite."

22. Sept. 27, 2013

Tolokonnikova is placed in a medical ward after five days without food.

23. Sept. 30, 2013

Alyokhina pledged that the group would never perform in a church again.

"We've paid attention to the fact that, as it turns out, since 2013 this has been a criminal offense, and we've repeatedly heard opinions from people whom we take seriously. This is basically the reason why we wouldn't go to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior again — or, unquestionably, to any other church for that matter," she said on a live program on Russia's Rossiya television.

24. Dec. 19, 2013

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina arewere freed three months before the end of their sentences under an amnesty that also releasedes 30 other environmental activists from prisons in the country.