Peter Wafzig

Despite international protest and embarrassment for the Russian government, two members of feminist punk collective Pussy Riot are still behind bars. And with one of them, Maria Alyokhina, going on a hunger strike because she wasn't allowed to be present at her own parole hearing, Paul McCartney is throwing himself back into the ring to fight on their behalf.

The former Beatle voiced support for the band last year, but with their prospects for early release dimming, McCartney penned handwritten pleas to the Russian government asking authorities to release both members.

"My personal belief is that further incarceration for Maria will be harmful for her and the situation as a whole, which, of course, is being watched by people all over the world," McCartney wrote in one letter, which is published in part on his site. "I have had a long relationship with the Russian people, and with this in mind, I am making the following request in a spirit of friendship for my many Russian acquaintances who, like me, believe in treating people - all people, with compassion and kindness."

As for the imprisoned punks, one of them recently managed to give a webcam interview despite being stuck in solitary confinement and denied parole. Alyokhina, who is currently on a hunger strike, said the group's political stunt "has definitely been successful" in attracting attention, but acknowledged the support for their cause exists mostly outside her home country.

"Some people were strongly affected by propaganda [against us], and even repeated, word-for-word, press statements including those by Putin about the offensive band title," Alyokhina explained. "It is amusing how effective propaganda is, actually."

Sad, but true. Maybe with one of rock's all-time legends adding his voice to the chorus once again, the voice of reason will drown out Putin's propaganda.