FREE Pussy Riot!!

Pussy Riot: A Female Punk Collective In Russia

This Is Pussy Riot, A Female Punk Collective In Russia
Image by Denis Sinyakov / Reuters

They’re Fond Of Staging Public Protests In Which They Wear Colorful Ski Masks And Dance To Loud Music

They're Fond Of Staging Public Protests In Which They Wear Colorful Ski Masks And Dance To Loud Music
Image by Denis Sinyakov / Reuters

Pussy Riot Rails Against Russia’s Oppresive Authoritarianism And Champion Equal Rights

Pussy Riot Rails Against Russia's Oppresive Authoritarianism And Champion Equal Rights
Image by Denis Sinyakov / Reuters

Pussy Riot Is A Frequent And Vocal Critic Of Both Russian President Vladimir Putin And Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev

Pussy Riot Is A Frequent And Vocal Critic Of Both Russian President Vladimir Putin And Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev
Image by Denis Sinyakov / Reuters

Here They Are Last December Showing Solidarity In Front Of A Detention Center That Houses Prominent Dissidents

Here They Are Last December Showing Solidarity In Front Of A Detention Center That Houses Prominent Dissidents
Image by Denis Sinyakov / Reuters

But The Stunt That REALLY Got Them In Trouble Was This One In February, When They Stormed The Pulpit At Christ The Savior Cathedral

But The Stunt That REALLY Got Them In Trouble Was This One In February, When They Stormed The Pulpit At Christ The Savior Cathedral

They Started Chanting “Mother Mary, Drive Putin Away” (Along With A String Of Obscenities) While Dancing A Can-Can, Calling It Their “Punk Prayer”

They Started Chanting "Mother Mary, Drive Putin Away" (Along With A String Of Obscenities) While Dancing A Can-Can, Calling It Their "Punk Prayer"

At The Insistence Of The Russian Orthodox Church, Who Denounced The Act As “Blasphemy,” Three Members Of Pussy Riot Were Arrested And Charged With “Hooliganism”

At The Insistence Of The Russian Orthodox Church, Who Denounced The Act As "Blasphemy," Three Members Of Pussy Riot Were Arrested And Charged With "Hooliganism"
Image by Tatyana Makeyeva / Reuters

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich All Face Up To 7 Years In Prison

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich All Face Up To 7 Years In Prison
Image by Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

Their Arrest Has Triggered Protests Around Russia And Europe, Such As This Demonstration In Prague

Their Arrest Has Triggered Protests Around Russia And Europe, Such As This Demonstration In Prague
Image by David W Cerny / Reuters

Amnesty International Has Declared The Three “Prisoners Of Conscience,” Who Are Being Held “Solely For The Peaceful Expression Of Their Beliefs.”

Amnesty International Has Declared The Three "Prisoners Of Conscience," Who Are Being Held "Solely For The Peaceful Expression Of Their Beliefs"
Image by David W Cerny / Reuters

The Arrests Have Deeply Divided Russia, Even Sparking This Clash Between Russian Orthodox Christians And Supporters Of Pussy Riot

The Arrests Have Deeply Divided Russia, Even Sparking This Clash Between Russian Orthodox Christians And Supporters Of Pussy Riot
Image by Maxim Shemetov / Reuters

Pussy Riot Has Galvanized The Arts Community In Russia, With Hundreds Of Prominent Public Figures Signing Open Letters And Petitions Demanding The Freedom Of The Three Women

Pussy Riot Has Galvanized The Arts Community In Russia, With Hundreds Of Prominent Public Figures Signing Open Letters And Petitions Demanding The Freedom Of The Three Women
Image by Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Actually Sewed His Mouth Shut To Symbolize The Silencing Of Pussy Riot.

Artist Pyotr Pavlensky Actually Sewed His Mouth Shut To Symbolize The Silencing Of Pussy Riot
Image by Handout / Reuters

The Trial Of The Pussy Riot Three Began Last Friday And Supporters Are Skeptical They Can Recieve Impartial Treatment In What Is Widely Considered A Pro-Putin Judicial System

The Trial Of The Pussy Riot Three Began Last Friday And Supporters Are Skeptical They Can Recieve Impartial Treatment In What Is Widely Considered A Pro-Putin Judicial System
Image by Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

TRANSLATED LYRICS:

Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners are crawling and bowing
The ghost of freedom is in heaven
Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB is their chief saint
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend the Holy
Women have to give birth and to love

Holy shit, shit, Lord’s shit!
Holy shit, shit, Lord’s shit!
(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, become a feminist
Become a feminist, Become a feminist
(end chorus)

Church praises the rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
In school you are going to meet with a teacher-preacher
Go to class – bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, you better believed in God
Belt of the Virgin is no substitute for mass-meetings
In protest of our Ever-Virgin Mary!

(Chorus)
St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!

Pussy Riot trial begins

As the Russian punk protest group Pussy Riot face up to 7 years in prison, they admit to an ethical misdemeanour, but not criminal acts. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

 
 
 Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich

Reuters

IN COURT: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich (top) look out from the defendant’s cell in a courtroom.

 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev

Reuters

‘ONE SHOULD BE CALM’

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

 

Three women who protested against Vladimir Putin in a ”punk prayer” on the altar of Russia’s main cathedral went on trial today in a case seen as a test of the longtime leader’s treatment of dissent during a new presidential term.

The women from the band Pussy Riot face up to seven years in prison for an unsanctioned performance in February in which they entered Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, ascended the altar and called on the Virgin Mary to ”throw Putin out”.

Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were brought to Moscow’s Khamovniki court for Russia’s highest-profile trial since former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was convicted for a second time in 2010, in the same courtroom.

Supporters chanted ”girls, we’re with you” and ”victory” as the women, each handcuffed by the wrist to a female officer, were escorted from a police van into the courthouse.

”We did not want to offend anybody,” Tolokonnikova said from the same metal and clear-plastic courtroom cage where Khodorkovsky sat with his business partner during their trial.

”Our motives were exclusively political.”

The stunt was designed to highlight the close relationship between the dominant Russian Orthodox Church and former KGB officer Putin, then prime minister, whose campaign to return to the presidency in a March election was backed clearly, if informally, by the leader of the church, Patriarch Kirill.

The protest offended many believers and left the church leadership incensed. The church, which has enjoyed a big revival since the demise of the Communist Soviet Union in 1991 and is seeking more influence on secular life, cast the performance as part of a sinister campaign by ”anti-Russian forces”.

The women, who have been charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility, have said many times they meant no offence.

ANGER OVER CLOSE CHURCH-STATE TIES

In opening statements read by a defence lawyer, who sometimes struggled with the handwritten texts, they said they were protesting against Kirill’s political support for Putin and had no animosity toward the church or the faithful.

”I have never had such feelings towards anyone in the world,” Tolokonnikova said in her statement, describing the charge of religious hatred as ”wildly harsh”.

”We are not enemies of Christianity. The opinion of Orthodox believers is important to us and we want all of them to be on our side – on the side of anti-authoritarian civil activists,” she said. ”Our performance contained no aggression toward the public – only a desperate desire to change the situation in Russia for the better.”

Pussy Riot burst onto the scene this winter with angry lyrics and surprise performances, including one on Red Square outside the Kremlin, that went viral on the internet.

The band members see themselves as the avant-garde of a disenchanted generation looking for creative ways to show dissatisfaction with Putin’s 12-year dominance of politics.

”I thought the church loved all its children, but it seems the church loves only those children who love Putin,” Alyokhina’s statement said.

The women looked thinner and paler than they did when they were jailed following the performance in late February, shortly before Putin, in power as president from 2000-2008 and then as prime minister, won a six-year presidential term on March 4.

”She looks like she has been on a long hunger strike,” Stanislav Samutsevich said of his daughter. ”I think this is like an inquisition, like mockery.”

A reporter on state-run TV presented a different picture, focusing on occasional smiles and chuckles, by the women, who whispered to each other as a prosecutor read the charges.

”Look at their faces; they are laughing and joking,” the reporter said on the news, adding that a viewer might think they were ”continuing the action” they carried out at the cathedral.

Prosecutors asked for the trial, which was streamed live on the internet, to be closed to the public and the media. The judge rejected the motion but ordered live streaming shut off during witness testimony and some other proceedings.

A group of conservative Russian writers called for tough punishment. Kremlin opponents, rights activists and the defendants say the charges are politically motivated.

The prosecution marked ”the start of a campaign of authoritarian, repressive measures aimed to … spread fear among politically active citizens,” Samutsevich said in her statement, read out by defence lawyer Violetta Volkova.

PROTEST MOVEMENT

The performance was part of a lively protest movement that at its peak saw 100,000 people turn out for rallies in Moscow, some of the largest in Russia since the Soviet Union’s demise.

The prosecution dismissed accusations of political motives.

”This is not a question of our parliamentary or presidential elections, but a criminal case about … banal hooliganism with a religious motive,” said Larisa Pavlova, who represents Lyubov Sokologorskaya, one of several people who work at the cathedral and are appearing at the trial as ”victims” of Pussy Riot.

Sokologorskaya, who described herself as a ”profound believer”, said only clerics were allowed at the altar and that the defendants’ bare shoulders, short skirts and ”aggressive” dance moves violated church rules and offended the faithful.

”When I talk about this event, my heart hurts. It hurts that this is possible in our country,” she said. ”Their punishment must be adequate so that never again is such a thing repeated.”

The trial comes as Putin, who is 59 and has not ruled out seeking another term in 2018, tries to rein in opponents who hope to reignite the street protest movement this autumn.

Yesterday, Putin signed a law enacting stricter punishment for defamation. That follows recent laws tightening controls on foreign-funded civil rights groups and sharply raising fines for violations of public order at street rallies.

Opposition leaders including anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny and socialite Ksenia Sobchak have had their homes searched and faced repeated rounds of questioning over violence at a protest on the eve of Putin’s inauguration on May 7.

Lawyers for Navalny say investigators are preparing to charge him, in a separate case, with a crime punishable by up to five years in prison. He was summoned to the federal Investigative Committee on yesterday and told to return today.

Amnesty International said the Pussy Riot performers ”must be released immediately” and that the prison terms they face if convicted are ”wildly out of all proportion”.

”They dared to attack the two pillars of the modern Russian establishment – the Kremlin and the Orthodox Church,” regional programme director John Dalhuisen said in a statement.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev dismissed criticism of the case in remarks published yesterday, saying the trial was a ”serious ordeal” for the defendants and their families but that ”one should be calm about it” and await the outcome.

Whether the group’s performance crossed the line from a ”moral misdemeanour” to a crime was ”up to the court to decide”, Medvedev, in London for the Olympics, told the Times newspaper in an interview posted on the Russian government website.

A defence lawyer for the musicians, Nikolai Polozov, said Medvedev’s comments were aimed at putting pressure on the court to ”punish blasphemers”.

”The court is being very one-sided, slanted towards the prosecution, which of course in our view is motivated exclusively by political bias in this case,” he said.

Few Russians believe the country’s courts are independent, and Medvedev acknowledged during his 2008-2012 presidency that they were subject to political pressure.

THE TRUE BLASPHEMY:

SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK ON PUSSY RIOT

Marxist intellectual Slavoj Žižek

on the Pussy Riot trial

The True Blasphemy

Pussy Riot members accused of blasphemy and hatred of religion? The answer is easy: the true blasphemy is the state accusation itself, formulating as a crime of religious hatred something which was clearly a political act of protest against the ruling clique. Recall Brecht’s old quip from his Beggars’ Opera: “What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a new bank?” In 2008, Wall Street gave us the new version: what is the stealing of a couple of thousand of dollars, for which one goes to prison, compared to financial speculations that deprive tens of millions of their homes and savings, and are then rewarded by state help of sublime grandeur? Now, we got another version from Russia, from the power of the state: What is a modest Pussy Riot obscene provocation in a church compared to the accusation against Pussy Riot, this gigantic obscene provocation of the state apparatus which mocks any notion of decent law and order?

Was the act of Pussy Riot cynical? There are two kinds of cynicism: the bitter cynicism of the oppressed which unmasks the hypocrisy of those in power, and the cynicism of the oppressors themselves who openly violate their own proclaimed principles. The cynicism of Pussy Riot is of the first kind, while the cynicism of those in power — why not call their authoritarian brutality a Prick Riot — is of the much more ominous second kind.

Back in 1905, Leon Trotsky characterized tsarist Russia as “a vicious combination of the Asian knout and the European stock market.” Does this designation not hold more and more also for the Russia of today? Does it not announce the rise of the new phase of capitalism, capitalism with Asian values (which, of course, has nothing to do with Asia and everything to do with the anti-democratic tendencies in today’s global capitalism). If we understand cynicism as ruthless pragmatism of power which secretly laughs at its own principles, then Pussy Riot are anti-cynicism embodied. Their message is: IDEAS MATTER. They are conceptual artists in the noblest sense of the word: artists who embody an Idea. This is why they wear balaclavas: masks of de-individualization, of liberating anonymity. The message of their balaclavas is that it doesn’t matter which of them got arrested — they’re not individuals, they’re an Idea. And this is why they are such a threat: it is easy to imprison individuals, but try to imprison an Idea!

The panic of those in power — displayed by their ridiculously excessive brutal reaction — is thus fully justified. The more brutally they act, the more important symbol Pussy Riot will become. Already now the result of the oppressive measures is that Pussy Riot are a household name literally all around the world.

It is the sacred duty of all of us to prevent that the courageous individuals who compose Pussy Riot will not pay in their flesh the price for their becoming a global symbol.

—Slavoj Žižek

About LivinginPeaceProject

Paul Murray is the founder of the LivinginPeace Project. www.livinginpeace.com Paul originally from Australia, but have been living in New Zealand for eight years. Before that he was in Japan for a decade working as a journalist. He met his wife Sanae in Japan and they married in 2008.
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One Response to FREE Pussy Riot!!

  1. Владимир Путин says:

    Камни КГБ!!!

    Комитет государственной безопасности

    ваши дружественные, улыбающиеся защитники

    Владимир Путин

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