Pussy Riot Members Who Fled Russia Over Death Threats Seek Asylum in Sweden

Pussy Riot
A mother holding her baby walks past a car with a banner reading 'free Pussy Riot' during a demonstration supporting the Russian band Pussy Riot on September 28, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic. Two Pussy Riot members are seeking asylum in Sweden, claiming they have been persecuted in Russia. MICHAL CIZEK/AFP/Getty Images

Two artists and members of a Russian protest punk rock group are reportedly seeking asylum in Sweden.

Pussy Riot was founded in Moscow in 2011 and counted around 11 members. It soon attracted global attention as it staged unauthorized performances in public places, often delivering political messages. The group's lyrics include topics such as LGBT rights, feminism and criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Two of the group's members, Lusine Djanyan and Aleksej Knedljakovskji, claim they have have been persecuted in their native Russia. They have been living in a house for asylum seekers in Lindesberg, Sweden, as they wait for a decision to be made on their application.

The couple, who have a two-year-old son, made the revelation to Sweden's SVT.

"We are used to living in the center of events, with constant renovation and travel. It is difficult to change [to] the tranquility and quiet here in the village," Djanyan said.

Knedljakovski said: "But the reality of Russia, the one who waits if we go back is so much worse. We do not have to be constantly afraid."

A 2012 performance by the Pussy Riot in a cathedral in Moscow became known worldwide. Five members of the group performed in the Savior's Cathedral in protest at the alleged support of the Orthodox Church leaders for Putin during the election campaign.

Three Pussy Riot members were subsequently sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred."

Two years later, some members of the group, including Djanyan and Knedljakovskji, were arrested following clashes with secuirty forces and members of the Cossack militia. The group had attempted to perform under a sign advertising the Sochi Olympics.

Djanyan claimed that, after the incident, she was fired from her job as an assistant professor and the couple were allegedly harrassed by the media and attacked on the streets.

They fled Russia after alleged threats that their son would become an orphan.

The couple said they would like to visit exhibitions of their works in London and Milan, but they are unable to leave Sweden as they are waiting for the application to process.