Alexey Knedlyakovsky and Lusine Djanyan, Pussy Riot
[Photos via Pussy Riot, YouTube/Alexey Knedlyakovsky/Lusine Djanyan/Pussy Riot]

Two members of Pussy Riot and their children have been denied political asylum in Sweden. Alexey Knedlyakovsky and Lusine Djanyan now face deportation back to Russia should Swedish Migration Agency not accept their application to stay in Sweden.

In a press release, the activist punk group ask that Swedish citizens question authorities and push for the approval of Knedlyakovsky and Djanyan’s requests to stay.

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Last year, the couple fled Russia after being “systematically arrested at home.” According to one of Pussy Riot’s most visible members, Nadya Tolokonnikova, the couple didn’t want to put their child in danger as they had been targeted by right-wing activists multiple times for criticizing Vladimir Putin.

Most notably, Knedlyakovsky and Djanyan were whipped and beaten by the Cossack militia for their performance during 2014’s Sochi Olympics. According to Tolokonnikova, Djanyan was attacked the most because he was wearing a dress in solidarity of LGBT and queer folks.

Tolokonnikova believes that if Knedlyakovsky and Djanyan are forced to return to Russia, they will either spend the rest of their lives in prison or be severely hurt or killed by right-wing activists.

“Stakes are high, danger is real,” Tolokonnikova says. “In the end of 2017 Krasnodar-based environmental activist Andrey Rudomakha (who was threatened by cops and thugs many times before) were attacked and beaten – he got traumatic brain injury and a broken nose. Needless to say, thugs who made it were never found because they were covered by the authorities.”

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“I respect Lusine and Alexey’s decision to remove themselves and their kids from a place their freedoms and lives are always at risk,” Tolokonnikova continues. “The difference between me, Lusine and Alexey is that because of my previous prison sentence I’m more known than they are, and, thus, more protected (to some extent).”

You can read Pussy Riot’s entire statement in a tweet below.

Just last September, another Pussy Riot member was hospitalized for poisoning. Luckily activist member Peter Verzilov was released from the hospital after his partner caught the symptoms quickly. The punk performance group is now looking to open a criminal investigation.

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