Free Pussy Riot

by the-biennial-project 18. August 2012 15:31

by Martha McCollough, for The Biennial Project

 Pussy_Riot.jbig “Only in Russia do they respect poetry. They even kill you for it.” —Osip Mandelstam.


The “crime”: 

 

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The “criminals”:

Pussy Riot. “we realized that this country needs a militant, punk-feminist, street band that will rip through Moscow's streets and squares, mobilize public energy against the evil crooks of the Putinist junta and enrich the Russian cultural and political opposition with themes that are important to us: gender and LGBT rights, problems of masculine conformity, absence of a daring political message on the musical and art scenes, and the domination of males in all areas of public discourse.”

Interview with Pussy Riot

http://www.vice.com/read/A-Russian-Pussy-Riot

(This interview is a must-read.)

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 The charge: Hooliganism?!

What is hooliganism and why could a conviction put Pussy Riot in prison for seven years? 

“any deliberate behaviour which violates public order and expresses explicit disrespect towards the society."

This law was often used by Soviet authorities against political dissidents and clearly still comes in handy.

Sounds like a punk band’s job description, and the kind of activity politically aware artists everywhere should be ready to embrace.


What did they actually say?


“The protest song Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin was performed in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow on 21 February 2012 by several members of the feminist Pussy Riot group with their faces covered in balaclavas.

The song calls on Virgin Mary to become a feminist and banish Vladimir Putin. It also criticizes the dedication and support shown to Putin by some representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.

It was one of a number of performances intended as a protest against Vladimir Putin in the run-up to Russia's presidential elections in March.”

—Amnesty International

Read the Amnesty International article 


Where are they now?

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Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who are accused of “hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred” have now been behind bars for months —Amnesty International


Check this statement by one of the prosecutors: "All the defendants talked about being feminists and said that is allowed in the Russian Orthodox church," said Yelena Pavlova, a lawyer for several of the nine
complainants who claimed they were insulted by Pussy Riot's performance.

"This does not correspond with reality. Feminism is a mortal sin." [Prosecutors] also argued that the leader of the church, Patriarch Kirill, had been personally insulted and was "not just an ordinary citizen".

(read an article on Madonna support for Pussy Riot).

 

The treatment Pussy Riot has received suggests that Russia is sliding back into dictatorship, with Putin, their main target, as untouchable strong man, supported by a religious institution so patriarchal its leader is known as The Patriarch.

Their trial is only one of many example of how the Russian justice system is being abused by the powerful, but artists everywhere need to show solidarity with Pussy Riot.

There are parts of the United States where fundamentalists are attempting to institute functional theocracy. The religious right has a history of attempting to silence artists, from Andre Serrano to Robert Mapplethorpe. As their political power increases, will artists begin to self-censor in order to be able to show their work? Have they
already?

The attention Pussy Riot has is receiving has turned their incarceration into a PR problem for Putin and the Russian Orthodox church. Both the church hierarchy and Vladimir Putin have said they believe Pussy Riot should be treated with leniency. Attentive to the wishes of their master, prosecutors are asking for three years imprisonment for Pussy Riot.

The “verdict”:

All three women were found guilty this Friday by a Moscow court and sentenced to two years in a penal colony. The judge declared that the women posed a danger to society and had  committed “grave crimes” including “the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith”.

Russian chess champion Gary Kasparov arrested protesting the Pussy Riot verdict

 

 

Russian chess champion Gary Kasparov arrested protesting the Pussy Riot verdict.

 

 

This conviction follows several recently passed laws cracking down on opposition to Putin, including one that raises the fine for participating in “unauthorized” demonstrations by 150 times to 300,000 rubles (about $9,000). On the same day as the Pussy Riot sentence was handed down, a Russian court continued the ban on Gay Pride events for the next 100 years.

The Orthodox Church, whose primate Patriarch Kirill is closely allied with the Putin regime, said in a statement after the verdict that the band's stunt was a "sacrilege". The Patriarch also stated that he forgives the “girls” and is praying for them to change their ways, while noticeably not asking for a pardon.

Pussy Riot’s lawyers plan an immediate appeal.


You need to help Pussy Riot

to defend free speech in Russia.

Go to

Amnesty International Pussy Riot Campaign

http://www2.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/sms-action-network/pussy-riot


to find out what you can do.


And in case you think Pussy Riot are a bunch of silly twats who don’t deserve your support and are only getting noticed because of their stupid name, a) you are an asshole, and b) Here’s a link that’s serious as a heart-attack. Happy now?

serious as a heart attack article

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/support-pussy-riot-by-all-means-but-support-the-kazakh-oil-workers-too/

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