The Pussy Riot trial has begun. The girls have plead “not guilty” to “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” Yet, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 are still facing seven years in jail for playing a protest song in church. That’s not a good look, Putin! Yet, as Nadia’s husband Pyotr Verzilov tells ANIMAL, ”It’s rolling” and it’s not stopping.

With the slogan “Holy shit, shit, shit!” in the now infamous protest performance, Pussy Riot stood up against Putin’s autocratic rule and against the entanglement of church and state but not against religion itself. They said so, in court: “We did not want to offend anybody… Our motives were exclusively political.” Yet, Patriarch Kirill (Russia’s nearest equivalent to “Pope”) has condemned the girls as blasphemous and the Russian government-controlled television channels are fisted full of propaganda, with Pussy Riot starring as foreign spies sent to dismember Russian unity and attack religion. Pyotr tells ANIMAL:

“It’s a difficult situation between Patriarch Kirill, the church and Putin. The administration runs all the things in Russia. Our sources say that Kirill made a personal call to Putin and the head of Moscow police asking to treat the case as seriously as possible.”

By now, images of Pussy Riot are burned into the international public consciousness–as both, the punk heroines in bright dresses and balaclavas and the beautiful three behind the bars in prison and a glass cage in court. Some of us “from the internet” have seen Nadia and the gang before, protesting at LGBT gatherings midst Russia’s hideously homophobic climate. Amnesty International has declared them “Prisoners of Conscience” held “solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.” Is this really Kremlin’s Public Enemy Number One?

Pyotr explains:

“We started getting indications a month ago that the church was asking the government to release the girls, to finish the case. It has caused the Eastern Orthodox church huge damage and turned off whole classes of intelligent, educated, middle class people from the church. But it’s running already and they feel like they can’t drop it at this point.”

Meanwhile, Alexei Navalny–Putin’s only real opponent during the last predictable election–was charged with embezzlement. Just in case you thought opposing the status quo was all fun and games and there is no way the girls can get convicted.

Here are the girls that are still in the wild, un-captured, anonymous, talking to the Guardian. They’re “like Batman,” they say. They keep their balaclavas in their purse, just in case they need it. Where’s yours?

(Photo: Drugoi/LiveJournal)