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Members of Pussy Riot Mock Vladimir Putin on Their Way Out of Prison

Maria Alyokhina, one of the jailed members of anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot, is surrounded by journalists as she walks after beeing freed in Nizhny Novgorod on December 23, 2013. Alyokhina, who was freed from prison under a Kremlin-backed amnesty slammed the measure as a mere publicity stunt and said that she would have preferred to remain in prison. Maria Alyokhina, one of the Pussy Rioters, after being released.

As expected, the two still-imprisoned members of Pussy Riot were released today, thanks to an amnesty bill introduced by President Vladimir Putin. The women were very grateful for Putin's gracious act of magnanimity. 

"I would like to see Putin as a clement leader, but he is far from it," Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, told NBC News through a translator after she was released from the prison in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia. "I see it as a weakness because to free us when we have until two months left is not much after we have served two years. I would see it as a strength if he would free other political prisoners." 

So, so grateful:

“I think this is an attempt to improve the image of the current government, a little, before the Sochi Olympics — particularly for the Western Europeans,” she said, referring to the Winter Games Russia is hosting in February. “But I don’t consider this humane or merciful.”

She added, “This is a lie.”

“We didn’t ask for any pardon,” Ms. Alyokhina said. “I would have sat here until the end of my sentence because I don’t need mercy from Putin.” The women had been jailed since March 2012 and would have been released within the next three months.

Yep, looks like some time in the clink really showed Pussy Riot who's boss. 

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Photo: ANASTASIYA MAKARYCHEVA/AFP/Getty Images