Pussy Riot Results In Putin Putsch

 

 

 

 

 

I haven’t heard a note of Pussy Riot. They could be unbelievably wonderful or they could be utterly pedestrian (the worst kind of shit). But that currently doesn’t matter. What does matter is that three young women are currently being held indefinitely in prison with no sign of a trial date for performing a song in a church . Looking at the numerous pictures of their incarceration, it’s like an alternative universe where Sleater-Kinney are regarded as Public Enemy Number One.

Four months ago Pussy Riot performed a song protesting against Vladimir Putin in the most important Orthodox church in Moscow. The lyrics were heavily political in their anti-government stance and the symbolic act of performing in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was another deliberately aimed provocation.  As a result, they have been charged with hooliganism carrying the possibility of a seven year sentence. However, with no sign of a trial date being set and a Moscow court extending their detention until the end of July, there are real fears that these women will neither receive a fair trial nor  gain their freedom. Putin himself condemned Pussy Riot’s performance which seems to have given the green light to the authorities to act in the manner they have. The Orthodox Church’s spokesman has also welcomed their arrest claiming that God had told him in a divine revelation that He “condemns what they have done,” and that “this sin will be punished in this life and the next.” Worryingly, the Orthodox Church in Russia holds a tremendous amount of leverage and power and, allied with Putin’s intervention, the odds seem heavily stacked against Pussy Riot.

Rather than bleating on about Meat Free Monday,  Paul McCartney could do some good by offering a message of support to the jailed women, or perhaps Madonna might like to show some sisterly solidarity by putting her money where her mouth is  when she plays St Petersburg in August. Should you wish to show support there is a Facebook page here:  http://www.facebook.com/events/314311478624378/ or visit http://freepussyriot.org/ (although the latter site seems to have mysteriously, and worryingly,  disappeared – hopefully temporarily).

It is the mark of a civilised society that those in authority allow peaceful criticism of their rule. Pussy Riot availed themselves of that right and now find themselves incarcerated indefinitely for expressing those views. The Clash may have wished for a riot of their own (and taking pot shots at pigeons really didn’t count) but Pussy Riot need influential Western artists and the rest of us to rise up against the totalitarian and doctrinaire combination of state and church to allow them the basic right to protest and produce their art, which is borne of circumstance and has a very real need to be heard.

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