Masha Gessen on the State of Vladimir Putin's Russia

In the lead up to Sochi, Russia is seeing the release of high profile figures as a type of saving face before the games, but many political activists continue to languish in prison with no rights and as a gay woman Masha Gessen is always vulnerable. (Photo courtesy of Svenya Generalova)

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Journalist and gay-rights activist Masha Gessen shares her thoughts on Russia's human rights record from its treatment of gays ... to its Stalin-esque prison systems ... to the release of high-profile political prisoners as the clock ticks toward the Sochhi Olympic Games.

"Once they started talking about removing children from families, I felt like no risk was small enough to be acceptable. So we just had to get out."

Masha Gessen

masha-book-200.jpgIn February of 2012, Russian punk band Pussy Riot uploaded a video of them lip-synching this song -- "Punk Prayer: Mother of God, Chase Putin Away." As a result, two of the band's members -- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina -- went to jail for nearly two years. They were released just before Christmas, along with former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Everything You Need to Know About Pussy Riot, In One Timeline -- Policy Mic

This comes as the country gets ready to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi next month. But the lead-up to the games has been mired by two deadly suicide bombs in the southern city of Volgograd.And Russia continues to face international scrutiny over its dismal human rights record and its new anti-gay laws.

Train To Nowhere: Russian Prison Transfers Are Secretive, Arduous Affairs -- Radio Free Europe - Radio Liberty

Masha Gessen has chronicled this troubled period in Russia's history, as a journalist and a gay-rights activist. Masha Gessen's newest book is Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. She was in New York City.


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This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien.

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