Friday Hoydens: Pussy Riot

The news this week that three members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot will be sent to prison for two years is outrageous and infuriating, but also the best reminder possible that punk is about more than posing, and that there are still plenty of places in the world where artists continue to forge their activism at a very real cost to their lives.

The three defendants sit in a glass-fronted holding box, surrounded by three female and one male guard.

Awaiting sentencing, via Mother Jones

After performing a “punk prayer” in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow last February, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested, and have already been in custody for five months. Back then Blue Milk, ahead of the curve as ever, made Pussy Riot the Sunday Singalong.

The charge was “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”, although their target of their protest was not the cathedral they performed it in, nor the worshippers within it, but Vladimir Putin. Representatives of the church in question have stated that they would be willing to discuss a pardon, which the women have rejected. This makes it apparent that their intention is to fight the illegitimacy of the process to which they have been subjected. We are talking highly principled, seriously thought-through activism here. Their gloriously vibrant commitment to expressing themselves, as much as the courage that must underpin it, makes my head reel.

I found this article in the Atlantic to be an incisive assessment of the disappointments of Western reporting on the issue: “Manic Pixie Dream Dissidents” (which should also win some kind of headline prize).

Here is a relevant AVAAZ petition, that is not specifically about the Pussy Riot case, but a broader call for the EU to put pressure on Russia to stop restricting freedom of political expression.

Here is a wonderful series of photos from the BBC of Pussy Riot supporters doing their thang. And more from the Atlantic.

The eight members of Pussy Riot, wearing brightly coloured balaclavas, with the caption "Free Pussy Riot", and the Amnesty International logo.

Amnesty International's campaign against the trial.

 



Categories: Culture, Politics

Tags: , , ,

5 replies

  1. Loathed Gruen Planet’s typically facile analysis of this. They could barely get past the band’s name, then someone managed to say it was all going to be great for their record sales.

  2. Twisty writes about how (while we definitely should petition against putting these women in jail for a non-jail-worthy crime), Pussy Riot itself isn’t exactly feminist.
    See also.
    (What’s with Banksy, who donated bail in the past for two male members of Voina, but to my knowledge hasn’t done so for Pussy Riot?)

  3. I reckon the women of Pussy Riot still qualify as Hoydens (women of saucy, boisterous or carefree behaviour)nomatter how horrid their friends are.

  4. As much as Hedgepig’s initial observation about Gruen serves to illustrate the point that those on the side of the status quo will always do their best to neutralise any action by women that looks like it might have political teeth, I too am not ready to declare someone ‘not feminist’ because I think they choose their associates poorly.
    Also, Twisty’s analysis made me realise how utterly fed up I am with her defeated-before-we-begin attitude to activism. If any feminist appears to be achieving anything, it’s proof that she’s not, because if she was the collective powers that be would have stopped her. I’m awfully grateful the Pankhursts didn’t think like that, or we still wouldn’t have the vote.

  5. For those following this, Shakesville links to another article.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,992 other followers

%d bloggers like this: