Wed, 16 Jun 2021

MOSCOW -- Police in Moscow have detained Veronika Nikulshina, a member of the Pussy Riot protest group, without explanation.

Nikulshina wrote on Instagram on May 7 that four police officers apprehended her near her apartment block without saying why they were taking her into custody.

A video of the incident was distributed by the Open Media group on Telegram.

Nikulshina's lawyer, Mansur Gilmanov, told Open Media that his client was detained on suspicion of being disobedient toward the police.

The Interfax news agency cited a source in law enforcement as saying that Nikulshina was detained 'to prevent possible provocations during rehearsals for a military parade' before Victory Day, which will be marked on May 9.

Pussy Riot members are well-known for various stunts they perform across Russia to challenge the policies of the authorities and raise human rights issues.

The group came to prominence in 2012 after its members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were convicted of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' for a stunt in which they burst into Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral and sang a 'punk prayer' against Vladimir Putin, who was prime minister and campaigning for his return to the presidency at the time.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were close to the end of their two-year prison sentences when they were freed in December 2013 under an amnesty they dismissed as a propaganda stunt to improve Putin's image ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova founded Mediazona in 2014, with activist Pyotr Verzilov becoming publisher.

With reporting by Interfax

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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