The solidarity singers who gather daily at the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison have a pair of surprise guest musicians joining their chorus — Pussy Riot.

Two members of the notorious Russian female rock group known for their outspoken protests, Nadya Tolokonikova and Masha Alyokhina, make a surprise appearance in a new video extolling Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to drop the state’s prosecution against the singing protesters.

Pussy Riot is an 11-member female group known for staging impromptu performances and protests in the streets of Russia, and then editing the footage into music video. The group has vocally opposed many of the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin – in particular his anti-gay policies – and in 2011 three members (including Tolokonikova and Alyokhina) were convicted and imprisoned of “hooliganism” for singing an anti-Putin song outside a cathedral.

While all the members of the group were released from prison last December as part of a government amnesty ruling, they still face persecution from Russian officials, including being beaten and whipped when they’ve tried to perform in public. Last week, after recording their part for the solidarity singers video, Tolokonikova and Alyokhina suffered head injuries and chemical burns after being attacked by a group of men in Russia.

The video is part of a campaign called #SolidarityWisconsin launched by the Voice Project, an organization that fights for freedom of expression around the globe. The organization draws a direct line between the persecution faced by the members of Pussy Riot and what’s going on in Wisconsin.

“The stifling of dissent, freedom of expression and foundational human rights, democracy being under threat and creeping authoritarianism, these are not just problems to read about in far-off places like Russia and China,” Voice Project Executive Director Hunter Heaney said. “We’ve dedicated ourselves to this fight and we’re going in full force, rolling up our sleeves to help on these issues like we did with Pussy Riot, like we’re doing now with Wisconsin.”

The Soldarity Singer protests started in 2011 as part of the protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10 bill that stripped most public-sector workers of most of their collective bargaining rights. Capitol police issued hundreds of citations against protesters – last month a judge threw out 29 citations, but over 400 remain.

The six-minute video is a mini-documentary that includes footage of singers being arrested in the rotunda as well as interviews with protesters and lawmakers, including Madison Democratic Reps. Chris Taylor and Melissa Sargent. The members of Pussy Riot appear near the end of the video.

“Use music to change the world in the direction you want it to change,” Tolokonikova says in the video. “Because music touches people and makes them act.”

Watch the video:

#SolidarityWisconsin from The Voice Project on Vimeo.

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Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.