Two Russian Women Found Dead Beneath 'Free Pussy Riot' Scrawled in Blood

In the wake of three members of Russian feminist collective Pussy Riot being sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism," most of the protests in support of the women have been peaceful. But in a suspicious new killing, that peace may have come to a halt.

Russian police confirmed today that the bodies of two women, a 76-year-old and her 38-year-old daughter, have been found stabbed to death in their apartment in the city of Kazan. Above the women, who investigators believe were murdered sometime between Friday and Sunday, someone had written "Free Pussy Riot," in English, in what appeared to be blood (police are waiting on tests to confirm it was actually blood).

The murders immediately generated a firestorm of controversy in a nation sharply divided between Kremlin loyalists and anti-government activists. State-owned news site Vesti.ru ran the headline "People Have Begun to Kill for Pussy Riot," but Pussy Riot supporters say they're being framed. Nikolai Polozov, lawyer for the three imprisoned women, said that the killings were "a dirty provocation." He later added, "I am sorry that some freaks are using Pussy Riot's band name."

Police seem to agree with Polozov. Officer Andrey Sheptitsky theorized in a televised interview that the killings were the work of a psychotic or drug addict who "was trying to avoid suspicion" with the Pussy Riot red herring. Alas, that discretion didn't go very far in calming down pro-Putin pundits, one of whom is already equating the Kazan stabbings with the Manson murders.

[Image via AP]