CBS

It's been one year since Pussy Riot performed a "punk prayer" in a Moscow church to ask the Virgin Mary to expel President Vladimir Putin from office, resulting in a show trial that caught the world's attention. And with everyone from Madonna to South Park to the Black Keys weighing-in on the biggest musical cause célèbre of 2012, it's easy to forget the basic reality that two young mothers are now serving two years in a labor camp for a 51-second protest song.

But on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, two non-jailed Pussy Riot members spoke with the highly-rated news program and reminded occasionally jaded Americans that this international incident isn't merely a conversation topic: It's a troubling example of heavy-handed oppression in one of the most powerful nations on earth.

The band's drummer, Kot—who is still hiding from authorities in Moscow and practicing music with non-imprisoned Pussy Riot members—gave an interview to 60 Minutes and helped put a face to the story, albeit a masked one.

"I'm here to say you shouldn't give up," Kot said from behind a pink balaclava. "What happened to us is unacceptable." The undaunted rabble-rouser said she wants her 60 Minutes interview to be seen as an act of protest, although she admitted she was "a little worried" the interview would renew the government's interest in tracking her down. 

One of the  jailed members of the all-girl punk band "Pussy Riot," Yekaterina Samutsevich, sits in a glass-walled cage in a c
Katya Samutsevich, awaiting her appeal verdict last year in Moscow. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA)

Kot helped shed light into Russia's conflicted response to the incident, telling CBS that although her parents know what she did, "They're not happy about it. My dad is religious, and he thought what we did was an Antichrist kind of act." As crazy as that sounds, polls show more than half of Russian citizens felt the two-year sentence for the protesters was "fair."

60 Minutes also spoke with Katya Samutsevich, who was freed on the technicality that she had actually been kicked out of the cathedral before the punk protest began. Samutsevich explained why the highly intelligent members of the feminist collective—she herself is a computer engineer—turned to what 60 Minutes described as "lewd, crude" music to make political statements. "This is the language we've chosen: The language of punk," she told CBS. "It's not highly intellectual. It's intentionally lowered to attract attention."

Even if Pussy Riot's 60 Minutes turn earns them additional support in the U.S., it's probably not going to change things back in their country. CBS also interviewed Sergei Markov—a political spokesman for Putin—who more-or-less admitted the government was out to get them from the start. 

Saying the courts went out of their way "to find the law" to put these girls behind bars, Markov's only regret is the "awful image of Russia" this scandal has created. Regardless, he said the harsh sentence was a necessity: "We had to do it. If we will be weak, our image will be even worse."

Watch the video below for the full interview with Pussy Riot and Markov.