A guide to Pussy Riot’s oeuvre

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MOSCOW (AP) - Given how world famous Pussy Riot has become, people are sometimes surprised to learn that the entire oeuvre of the women’s punk band is made up of six songs and five videos.

Badly recorded, based on simple riffs and scream-like singing, the feminist singers were dismissed by many critics and listeners as amateur, provocative and obscene.

But the performance and release of each song’s video mirrored important steps in the rise of the opposition movement in Russia that protested Vladimir Putin’s return to power as president.

By Friday, when three members of the group were convicted of hooliganism for performing a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral in February to protest the Russian Orthodox Church’s support of Putin, it was clear the group also has won support around the world, including from stars such as Madonna and Paul McCartney and Amnesty International.

The band consists of at least 10 members who always performed in balaclavas so the identities of only the three who were convicted are publicly known.

Here is a guide to Pussy Riot’s songs, including one released Friday just hours before the Moscow court sentenced those three members to two years in prison.

“RELEASE THE COBBLESTONES”

The group’s first song and video are released on Nov. 7 _ the anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

A month earlier, Prime Minister Putin announces that he and his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev, will swap jobs, giving Putin the top government post again. The announcement is followed by regional elections that the Kremlin’s United Russia party wins by a landslide. Observers and government critics cry fraud, and online protests soon become widespread street demonstrations.

The Pussy Riot song recommends that Russians protest the upcoming parliamentary elections _ and throw cobblestones during street protests because “ballots will be used as toilet paper,” the group said on its blog.

The song’s most quoted line says that “Egyptian air is healthy for your lungs/Turn Red Square into Tahrir” _ the focal point of Egypt’s uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The song’s video is compiled from footage of band members singing and twanging guitars from the top of subway and trolley cars. The blog says the group was formed after its members “understood that after the Arab Spring Russia lacks political and sexual liberation, boldness, a feminist whip and a woman president.” From the very start, the group’s members do not disclose their real names and sport their now trademark balaclavas and brightly colored miniskirts.

“KROPOTKIN VODKA”

Dedicated to Pyotr Kropotkin, a 19th-century Russian prince and one of the founders of anarchism, the song advocates the “toppling of the Kremlin bastards” and “Death to prison, freedom to protests.”

It is videotaped during the band’s unannounced performances in posh restaurants and boutiques, during which band members uses fire extinguishers to put out fires they have started.

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