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)
"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
In 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.
Share your thoughts on this discussion.
This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien.