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Pussy Riot on Pre-Olympics Prison Release: 'No PR Stunt Can Fix Russia's Image' (Video)

The recently released Russian inmates told Stephen Colbert that Russia's anti-gay propaganda laws may soon tighten and suggested, "Maybe Putin made a mistake and he should just throw us back in jail."

Pussy Riot on Colbert Report - H 2014
Hulu
Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova

As America sends their best athletes -- and journalists -- to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (Nadya) and Maria Alyokhina (Masha) made their way stateside to visit U.S. prisons, appear at an Amnesty International concert and visit The Colbert Report.

STORY: Madonna Joins Forces With Pussy Riot for Human Rights Concert

The recently released Russian inmates bantered with Stephen Colbert via a translator during Tuesday night's episode. When Colbert asked what they did to get arrested, Alyokhina replied, "We sang a fun song at a church," to much audience applause. Regarding what problem they have with Vladimir Putin, they summarized, "We have different ideas about a bright future, and we don't want a shirtless man on a horse leading us into that bright future." 

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were sentenced to two-year prison terms for their anti-Putin "punk prayer" at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012 and were originally supposed to be released this coming April. The two were freed under an amnesty bill. Pussy Riot's third jailed member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on probation in the fall of 2012.

Alyokhina explained that the anti-gay propaganda laws in Russia are as bad as they sound to opponents. "They're about to make being part of the gay community a criminal offense...and there's also a danger of a new law being passed against gay extremism. In the eyes of our government, it probably just means being public about being gay."

Tolokonnikova noted that such a term doesn't mean anything like "gay terrorism" -- although it's something the two women have done before. "We did something like that actually once, we kissed female policewomen. This was even before Pussy Riot -- we managed to kiss about 40 of them...it actually was very fun, they would actually pull us to the side and say, 'Why do you have to do this in public?' "

The band members mentioned that they were freed from prison because the prison administrators, who had to report to Putin, "got fed up with us," and expanded on their previous statement that their release was just a public relations stunt for the country ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

STORY: Freed Pussy Riot Members to Form Prisoners' Rights Organization

"We don't think it was a very successful political stunt, we don't think it actually improved the image of Russia, so maybe Putin made a mistake and he should just throw us back in jail," said Tolokonnikova. "We'd much rather work on freeing the people who are still in jail, who got arrested in Bolotnaya Square on the 6th of May for standing up for freedom. There are 12 people in jail right now for this, with terms ranging from five to six years, and while this is happening, no PR stunt can fix Russia's image."

Watch the interview below:

Email: Ashley.Lee@THR.com
Twitter: @cashleelee