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Newly-freed Russian rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova joins Olympic boycott calls

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Dec 23, 2013 | 12:49pm EST

Punk rocker Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has thrown her support behind calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia, hours after her release from prison on hooliganism charges. The Pussy Riot star and her bandmates Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina were each ordered to serve two years behind bars after staging a protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin last year (12). Samutsevich's sentence was commuted in October, 2012, and her fellow activists were freed on Monday (23Dec13), ahead of their planned parole date in March (14), as part of an approved presidential amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia's post-Soviet constitution. However, the punishments have not stopped the three stars from speaking out against the Russian government and last month (Nov13), Samutsevich claimed a boycott of the upcoming sporting event in Sochi would force authorities to re-evaluate some of their controversial and oppressive policies, including a ban on the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Now Tolokonnikova has echoed her bandmate's views, telling CNN News, "The situation in Russia is very sad at the moment, really sad, and the political regime in Russia is leading the country to a collapse, so of course if Western countries want to show a strong, ethical position, then they need to boycott the Games." A number of stars, including Lady Gaga, Stephen Fry, Lily Allen and Alan Cumming, have backed calls for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Russia to be boycotted or moved, while Madonna, Elton John and Cher have all spoken out against the country's headline-grabbing anti-gay policies.

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