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Here’s What You Need To Know About The Pussy Riot Kerfuffle

By 08.08.12

Let’s talk about pussy, specifically Pussy Riot, the feminist punk-rock collective based in Russia. In March, three members of the group — Maria Alyokhina (24), Ekaterina Samutsevitch (29), and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (22) — were arrested because of so-called “hooliganism.” Meaning, they played a Bikini Kill-like song, “Punk Prayer” — which asked the Virgin Mary to oust President Vladimir Putin from power (you can see it here) — outside of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. Now they face seven years in prison for the performance. Apparently the band didn’t get the “Don’t Mess With Putin” memo.

A Russian blogger who was at the church that day described the scene.

“It lasted no more than five minutes and then it was over. It was right inside the building, in front of the altar. As soon as they started to perform, guards came from all sides, starting to grab them and trying to chase them out by yelling at them.” (Via)

The Pussy Riot members, who wore ski masks and loud-colored skirts during their “unlawful” performance, have been in prison for five months now, not because they did anything horrible, but because Putin, whose popularity in Russia is equivalent to Keeping Up with the Kardashians amongst TV snobs, wants to make an example out of them. “Oh, you have bad things to say about the government AND religion? Well, have fun rotting in prison,” says Hypothetical Putin, who isn’t actually all that hypothetical. (Russia has recently introduced a bill that would make slander a criminal offense. Yes, things are pretty f*cked up over there.)

Amnesty International has gotten involved, claiming that the women, whose intention was to express their resentment over the church’s support of Putin, are “prisoners of conscience, detained solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs,” as have Madonna, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker and the Who’s Peter Townshend, Patti Smith, and millions more.

Samutsevitch, Tolokonnikova, and Alyokhina — who recently said, “You can take away my ‘so-called’ freedom, but you can never take my inner freedom” — are currently in the middle of their trial, charged with “premeditated hooliganism performed by organized group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility,” with a final verdict set for next Friday, the 17th. Things don’t look good, according to Rolling Stone:

Defense lawyers expect a guilty verdict for Pussy Riot. While prosecutors have requested three years in prison for each band member – less than the maximum seven years – the defense is hoping for a more lenient punishment. They have announced plans for a world-wide rally to support Pussy Riot on the day of the verdict. (Via)

To quote the song that got them into this mess in the first place, “Mother of God, drive out Putin!” Please.

(Banner via)


TAGSblame russiaPunk Rockpussy riotRUSSIAVLADIMIR PUTIN

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