Music

Do You Know Who Pussy Riot Is? You Should.

Everything You Need to Know About Vladimir Putin's Least Favorite Feminists

Do You Know 
Who Pussy Riot Is? You Should.
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MARIA ALYOKHINA, 24 Alyokhina is a mother of a young child and was a fourth-year student at Moscow’s Institute of Journalism and Creative Writing when she was arrested.
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YEKATERINA 
SAMUTSEVICH, 30 Samutsevich was a computer programmer at the time of her arrest and graduated from 
Moscow’s Rodchenko School of Photography and Multimedia. She marked her 30th birthday while on trial.
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NADEZHDA TOLOKONNIKOVA, 22 Tolokonnikova was in her final year of philosophy studies at Moscow State University when she was arrested. She is the mother of a 4-year-old daughter.

Pussy Riot is an all-female feminist-punk art collective currently on trial in Russia for staging public performances in protest of their government. They are smart women. Frustrated women. And they are catalysts, reviving ideas of unapologetic feminism on a worldwide scale and proving that shit is still fucked up and there is so much work to be done. Their fight against the patriarchy is a literal one—after being arrested five months ago, three of them are now being put through a ridiculous trial, where the lines between church and state are blurred beyond recognition. Pussy Riot has no formal membership, tries to operate anonymously, and cites the riot grrrl movement as inspiration. According to a member of the collective: "We developed what they did in the 1990s, although in an absolutely different context and with an exaggerated political stance, which leads to all of our performances being illegal—we'll never gig in a club or special musical space." Now they face up to seven years in prison. I was in awe of Pussy Riot—and their focus on gender and LGBT rights and rejection of male dominance, not to mention their neon aesthetic—even before fully understanding what they were up against. In case you've just started to pay attention, here's Pussy Riot's story so far.

September 2011: Pussy Riot forms in protest of Vladimir Putin's third term as president, citing brutal corruption, poverty, and the loss of civil rights under his leadership. Putin has been either prime minister or president of Russia since 1999. To remain anonymous, Pussy Riot wear brightly colored balaclavas.

January 2012: Pussy Riot stages a performance on Red Square to a song with the lyrics "Revolt in Russia! Putin pissed himself! Revolt in Russia! We exist!"

February 21: Five members of Pussy Riot storm Moscow's main Orthodox church to perform a "punk prayer"—dancing, jumping, and shouting the chorus "Virgin Mary, become feminist/Virgin Mary, chase Putin away." Guards remove the women after less than one minute.

March 3—16: After Pussy Riot's videos of the performances become popular online, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich are arrested on grounds of suspected hooliganism and held without bail.

April 3: Amnesty International calls for Pussy Riot's release and recognizes them as "prisoners of conscience" due to "the severity of the response of the Russian authorities."

June 4: The women are served with a formal indictment 2,800 pages long and face five to seven years in prison. The case causes outrage, and Russian society is split; many believe they should be punished for offending the church, while others insist the punishment is unfair.

July 4: Without warning, the three arrested women are notified they will have to finish preparing for their defense by July 9. They respond with a hunger strike, saying only two working days is not enough time to prepare for trial.

July 30: The Pussy Riot trial begins. The prosecutor demands three years in a labor camp for each defendant. The defense reports that the women have not been allowed adequate food, sleep, or medical attention. During appearances in court, they are kept in a glass and wood cage, watched by a "rotating cast of guard dogs... lest the three women try to run away from the glass 'aquarium' in which they are locked during the trial," the New Yorker reports. Court sessions often last more than 10 hours.

August 3: There are reports of journalists being kept out of the courtroom. According to the Russian Legal Information Agency: "During the trial, the defense attorneys have also not had the opportunity to meet with their clients confidentially. The court has dismissed all of the defense's appeals, and has not allowed witnesses for the defense or members of the press or the public to testify."

August 6: The prosecution calls "injured parties" as witnesses, such as church security guards, a candle keeper, church cleaners, and a treasurer. According to the New Yorker, witnesses testify to being "profoundly offended" by the "loud, inappropriate" color of Pussy Riot's dresses, their lack of sleeves, etc., and the candle keeper says, "They basically spat in my face, in my soul, in my Lord's soul." Even though the women performed for less than one minute in balaclavas and tights while the church was empty, a witness claims to have identified one of the women "by her calf muscles." Rolling Stone reports that a real estate agent who also testifies watched the performance online and feels that "Pussy Riot declared war on God, Christianity, and the government." Meanwhile, the defense petitions seven times for Judge Marina Syrova to be removed because of her apparent interest in convicting the group. But reportedly the court's rules state that only the judge can determine whether or not she should be removed.

August 8: Closing statements are given. All three members have pleaded not guilty to charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The verdict is expected on August 17, but Alyokhina has said: "I am not afraid of your poorly concealed fraud of a verdict in this so-called court because it can deprive me of my freedom. No one will take my inner freedom away."

You can help by donating to Pussy Riot at www.freepussyriot.org—all proceeds go to the Pussy Riot legal defense fund. recommended

 

Comments (25) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
1
well done. thank you for posting.
Posted by itsneverthateasy on August 14, 2012 at 5:45 PM · Report this
2
Great article about an important topic. Thanks!
Posted by B. Beatsie on August 14, 2012 at 5:54 PM · Report this
3
just donated 50 $. The attention these three skinny young girls have received is outstanding. Even covered here in Shanghai. They get it. and have made a huge impact already.
Posted by bagel on August 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM · Report this
4
yeah,

we knew about pussy riot before you did but then you suck.

thanks,
the rest of the world. . .
Posted by thestrangercontinuestobesuperlame on August 15, 2012 at 4:11 AM · Report this
Emily Nokes 5
@4: Actually, wonderful Kelly O posted about Pussy Riot about three months before their arrest. We continued to follow them on the blogs before writing a feature for the paper. Knowledge is fun!
http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/a…
http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/a…
http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/a…
http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/a…
http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/a…

Posted by Emily Nokes on August 15, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Bree Mckenna 6
I'm certain that @4 is actually President Vladimir Putin, angrily trolling the Stranger comment section.
Posted by Bree Mckenna on August 15, 2012 at 11:31 AM · Report this
7
Check out the new protest song, and video by Peaches
http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/a…

WE ARE ALL PUSSY RIOT
Posted by Kelly O on August 15, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
8
@6 - I am sure it is Vladimir. He is a crybaby.
http://img.metro.co.uk/i/pix/2012/03/05/…
Posted by Kelly O on August 15, 2012 at 12:05 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 9
Pussy riot? Sounds like my Friday night! Right guys? Ya! *high fives and fist bumps*
Posted by ArtBasketSara on August 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM · Report this
10
Thanks Emily!

Just as an addendum to recent events: when Madonna performed in Moscow last week she wore a backless outfit and had the words Pussy Riot written in large letters across her back. Not sure if she did something similar at her St. Pete show.
Posted by gnossos on August 15, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Emily Nokes 11
@10 - Right! So many musicians have stepped up to support this cause, which is rad. Madonna has a lot to say about censorship in the arts and talked about Pussy Riot's cause AND gay rights during her St Petersburg show - http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/0…
Posted by Emily Nokes on August 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM · Report this
12
Create your own Pussy Riot protest song here.

http://www.collapseboard.com/everett-tru…
Posted by Jerry Thackray on August 16, 2012 at 7:31 PM · Report this
13
Anything happening in Seattle tonight? Pussy Riot! (I had to Google "balaclava," thought it was good to eat.)
Posted by Lenora Blanchard on August 17, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
14
Is there anything happening in Seattle tonight?
Posted by Lenora Blanchard on August 17, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Anna Anna Anna 15
"Injured parties", what a joke. So sad that governments waste time and money on shit like Pussy Riot when there's so much more worse shit going on that they should really be dealing with. Putin is looking horrible right now. How do his advisers let him continue? Does he not realize how stupid he looks to the rest of the planet?
Posted by Anna Anna Anna on August 17, 2012 at 1:05 PM · Report this
16
The girls of Pussy is what left over from the Soviet revolution?
The Russian society is plunged into an unprecedented skepticism, mixed with lush capital?
While some want the "Sovereign God of the Free Market", others less versed want to forget the recent past?
The Church Ortho-X, in turn, use all conceivable spaces in Kremlin ... Was once a swimming pool in the Cathedral... The scene of bizarre dance, of the girls with the rebellious pelvis, has been destroyed and rebuilt with a church in the end of the USSR ... OhMyGod!
On the other hand the opposition to Putin and the heretics of dialectic Marx and Lenin, saying the girls are condoning sexists!? (...) The Pussy don't know the difference: of right of expression with expanção market?
I want to see the centenary of the Revolution with my head up! And you buddy Camarada??
Posted by Soviet AHS on August 17, 2012 at 9:27 PM · Report this
17
Worst band ever, horrible name, horrible "music". Bunch of feminist marxist whores and their poor pussywhipped husbands. But Tolokonnikova is fucking gorgeous and her vile behavior makes her even hotter for me.
Posted by Eric378 on August 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM · Report this
18
@17 Misogynist assholes like you are exactly why Pussy Riot exists.
Posted by Lea on August 19, 2012 at 12:36 PM · Report this
19
@17 Misogynist assholes like you are exactly why Pussy Riot exists, and exactly why millions of people around the world - women *and* men - have rallied to their support. Our only consolation is that creeps like you generally won't breed, because no woman in her right mind would willingly fuck you.
Posted by Lea on August 19, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
20
17, agreed. 18/19, your pussy is no riot.
Posted by Drugs Delaney on August 19, 2012 at 9:16 PM · Report this
21
Sad to see anyone get arrested for something such as this,but WHY is this more important then abuse of power and authority which take place on a daily basis in nearly every city in this country.WHY is racial profiling and police brutality not worth much space in the Stranger(unless a artist at Pike Place Market gets killed,then it is radical chic to question the police.).Pussy Riot MIGHT be a excellent band musically,but having seen people get arrested at Fear and Black Flag shows for amazingly questionable reasons,I personally don't find this to be that amazing.
Posted by diehipsterdie on August 21, 2012 at 11:12 AM · Report this
22
And #20 sings:

Fap on.
Fap off.
Fap on fap off.
The Fapper.
Posted by No Pussy for You on August 21, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
23
Given that the GOP has approved a party platform which rejects abortion even in cases of rape and incest,wonder why there aren't more pussies rioting on this hemisphere.
Posted by kookaburraradfahrer on August 21, 2012 at 11:40 AM · Report this
A.S.Sexton 24
Pussy rules the world...haven't the guys figured this out yet? Heehee :)
Posted by A.S.Sexton http://www.alwayssexsurrender.webs.com on August 21, 2012 at 1:06 PM · Report this
Charlie Cash 25
Extemists...Boy...No matter what their cause, no matter how right they may be, going to any extreme to prove a point is actually pointless. People won't change until they want to...and most people don't.
Posted by Charlie Cash http://charliecashonetwothree.webs.com/ on August 24, 2012 at 11:04 AM · Report this

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