Pussy Riot protesters who invaded World Cup pitch will not be sent to penal ...

Four members of punk rock band Pussy Riot arrested after invading the pitch during the World Cup final look set to avoid being sent to a Siberian penal colony.   

Model Veronika Nikulshina, 21, Olga Kurachyova, 31, an ex-BBC Russia employee, Petr Verzilov, 31, the ex-husband of one the group's most prominent members, and Olga Pakhtusova, 25, were arrested at the Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.

It has since emerged that the group have been charged with administrative and not criminal offences, meaning they will likely avoid the brutal penal colony where band members were sent after their famous 'punk prayer' protest inside a cathedral. 

Known to her friends as Nika, she was one of four protestors now held by Russian police

The 21-year-old is a student at the prestigious Plekhanov Russian University of Economics

Veronika Nikulshina, 21, a model and student at the prestigious Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, was among the four Pussy Riot protesters arrested at the Luzhniki Stadium

Olga Kurachyova, 31, who used to work for BBC Russia (pictured during an LGBT protest), was also among those arrested

Olga Kurachyova, 31, who used to work for BBC Russia (pictured during an LGBT protest), was also among those arrested

Kurachyova (left) invaded the pitch during the World Cup final with Olga Pakhtusova, 25 (right)

Petr Verzilov, 31, the ex-husband of one of Pussy Riot's most prominent members, was also arrested for invading the pitch

Petr Verzilov, 31, the ex-husband of one of Pussy Riot's most prominent members, was also arrested for invading the pitch

Despite their protest the group have been charged with administrative, rather than criminal, offences meaning they will likely avoid being sent to a Siberian penal colony

Despite their protest the group have been charged with administrative, rather than criminal, offences meaning they will likely avoid being sent to a Siberian penal colony

They could still face up to 15 days in a more hospitable jail, though a more likely punishment is a fine, a ban from sporting events, and community work. 

However, in 2012 the cathedral protest was ignored until Putin intervened demanding harsh action, it was reported at the time. 

The group have been vocal critics of President Vladimir Putin - who watched as police swiftly rounded up the intruders and dragged them to detention. 

Veronika Nikulshina, 21, is a student at the prestigious Plekhanov Russian University of Economics and is known to her friends as Nika. 

The four protestors from the Russian punk group Pussy Riot interrupted play during the final

The four protestors from the Russian punk group Pussy Riot interrupted play during the final

 A member of the group is carried off the pitch in Moscow during the World Cup final

 A member of the group is carried off the pitch in Moscow during the World Cup final

The stage invasion took place in front of Putin, who was watching from a box

The stage invasion took place in front of Putin, who was watching from a box

She high fived French star Kylian Mbappe before being caught and escorted from the pitch.

She is better known for shoots than political protests.

Croatia defender Dejan Lovren pushed Verzilov, helping a steward detain him. 

He is the husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 28, jailed in 2012 for 'hooliganism' after an anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

 On an extraordinary video of their interrogation a police officers calls on the group a 'b****h*, asking her: 'So you don't give a f*** about Russia?'

One of the officers is heard telling the group he is sorry it is not 1937, when Joseph Stalin was in power and dissenters were routinely shot. 

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