RUSSIA: Guarantee Free Speech, Release Pussy Riot!

23 Apr

Pussy Riot member arrested outside cathedral.
RIA Novosti / Iliya Pitalev.

Members of grrrl-led punk band Pussy Riot were arrested in Moscow this spring for an incendiary performance in a Russian Orthodox church.

The band, part of a large collective of feminist punk musicians, were protesting the patriarchal Russian political system and its connected cousin, the Orthodox Church.  According to this Al Jazeera report, the church has come under fire in recent years for its close ties to President Putin and the wealth of the church leaders.  See badass video below.

Pussy Riot perform their song “Holy Shit” at a Moscow cathedral in February.

For their brief overtaking of the cathedral, the band were arrested immediately.  Now Pussy Riot members face prison sentences of up to seven years for ‘hooliganism.’

Perhaps the group should face some repercussions for their scuffle with the Moscow police, but seven years seems absurdly harsh.  Feminist groups throughout Europe are calling for the group’s immediate release.  FreePussyRiot.org has begun to organize benefit concerts for the Pussy Riot legal defense fund.

The Russian Federation has been playing at increasing democracy and transparency since the fall of the USSR, but clearly, it still has a long way to go.  Where diplomacy rarely works, perhaps protest punk songs can.

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