Today in Madonna History: February 5, 2014

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On February 5 2014, Madonna introduced Pussy Riot at the Amnesty International’s human rights concert.

It was the first Amnesty International concert for the cause in 16 years, and took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

During her introduction, Madonna thanked Pussy Riot “for making pussy a ‘sayable’ word in my household. Now, my 8-year-olds say it all the time.”

More seriously, Madonna spoke of the death threats she received during the Russian portion of her MDNA World Tour, which took place at the same time as Pussy Riot’s trial.

“Eighty-seven of my fans were arrested for gay behavior — whatever that is,” she said.

The Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, spoke in Russian with aggression and passion. A translator related the women’s speech.

“Freedom is not a given,” she translated. “It is something we have to fight for every day. It is our duty to speak for those who are still behind bars.”

Today in Madonna History: August 18, 2012

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On August 18 2012, Madonna made this statement during an MDNA concert in Zurich:

“I protest the conviction and sentencing of Pussy Riot to a penal colony for two years for a 40 second performance extolling their political opinions. Even if one disagrees with the location or how they chose to express themselves, the sentence is too harsh and in fact is inhumane. I call on all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment. I urge artists around the world to speak up in protest against this travesty. They’ve spent enough time in jail. I call on ALL of Russia to let Pussy Riot go free.”

Today in Madonna History: August 10, 2012

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On August 10 2012, a senior ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin used a Twitter post to attack Madonna after she called for the release of three women who faced prison over an irreverent performance in Moscow’s main cathedral.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, a nationalist politician and former envoy to NATO, posted the tweet after Madonna told a Moscow concert audience the jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot were “courageous” and deserved to be free.

“Every ex-wh*re tends to lecture everybody with age. Especially during world tours and concerts,” Rogozin, who lead Russia’s drive to upgrade the army and defense industry, wrote in a tweet in English.