Russian punk band attacked by Cossack militia at Olympics in Sochi

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Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Five women wearing balaclavas, two of whom are members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against the Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink, who were held along with several other people near the city's ferry terminal. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia and a Russian security officer in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, center, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered to perform in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They left the restaurant wearing bright dresses and ski masks and had only been performing for a few seconds when they were set upon by Cossacks. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the three others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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This photo provided by Maria Alekhina, a member of the punk band Pussy Riot, was taken in the back of a police detention vehicle after she and several others were detained in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova wrote on Twitter that she and Alekhina were detained Tuesday while walking in downtown Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Maria Alekhina)
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A Cossack militiaman attacks Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a photographer as she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, center, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova covers her face to protect herself from a Cossack militiaman while she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, second left, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group was attacked by about a dozen Cossack militiamen and other security officers almost immediately as they ran out of a nearby restaurant. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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A member of the punk group Pussy Riot is restrained by Cossack militia after the group tried to perform in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They left the restaurant wearing bright dresses and ski masks and had only been performing for a few seconds when they were set upon by Cossacks. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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A photographer is whipped by a member of the Cossack militia while trying to photograph members of the punk group Pussy Riot being attacked by Cossack militia and a Russian security officer, in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered to perform in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They left the restaurant wearing bright dresses and ski masks and had only been performing for a few seconds when they were set upon by Cossacks. The(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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A Cossack militiaman attacks Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and a photographer as she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Maria Alekhina, right, in the pink balaclava, stage a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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A member of the punk group Pussy Riot is restrained by a member of the Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Cossack militia attacked the Pussy Riot punk group with horsewhips on Wednesday as the group tried to perform under a sign advertising the Sochi Olympics. The group had gathered to perform in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held.They left the restaurant wearing bright dresses and ski masks and had only been performing for a few seconds when they were set upon by Cossacks. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova is pulled away by a Russian security officer after she and fellow members of the punk group Pussy Riot staged a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were immediately set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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This photo provided by Maria Alekhina, a member of the punk band Pussy Riot, was taken from inside a police detention vehicle after she and several others were detained in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. Fellow band member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova wrote on Twitter that she and Alekhina were detained Tuesday while walking in downtown Sochi, the host city of the Winter Olympics. (AP Photo/Maria Alekhina)
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Members of the punk group Pussy Riot, including Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in the blue balaclava and Maria Alekhina in the pink balaclava, are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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A member of the punk group Pussy Riot lies on the ground as the group are attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered to perform in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held.They left the restaurant wearing bright dresses and ski masks and had only been performing for a few seconds when they were set upon by Cossacks. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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A Russian security officer records members of the punk group Pussy Riot Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, and Maria Alekhina, center, after they were attacked by Cossack militia in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. Cossack militia attacked the Pussy Riot punk group with horsewhips on Wednesday as the group tried to perform under a sign advertising the Sochi Olympics. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Blood trickles down the face of a member of the punk group Pussy Riot after they were attacked by Cossack militia as they staged a protest performance in Sochi, Russia, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. The group had gathered in a downtown Sochi restaurant, about 30km (21miles) from where the Winter Olympics are being held. They ran out of the restaurant wearing brightly colored clothes and ski masks and were set upon by about a dozen Cossacks, who are used by police authorities in Russia to patrol the streets.(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Five women wearing balaclavas, two of whom are members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against the Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, who were held along with several other people near the city's ferry terminal. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, make their way through a crowd after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the three others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Russian punk group Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, in the blue balaclava, and Maria Alekhina, in the pink balaclava, run down the street with other women after they were released from a police station, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, in Adler, Russia. No charges were filed against Tolokonnikova and Alekhina along with the others who were detained. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Description

Cossack militia attacked the Pussy Riot punk group with horsewhips on Wednesday as the group tried to perform under a sign advertising the Sochi Olympics. One Cossack appeared to use pepper spray, another whipped several group members while others ripped off their masks and threw the guitar in a garbage can. Cossacks trace their history in Russia back to the 15th century. Serving in the czarist cavalry, they spearheaded imperial Russia's expansion and were often used as border guards. Under communism, they virtually disappeared, but have since resurfaced, particularly in the south.

 
 

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