Pussy Riot Research Paper

Three members of the Russian punk-rock rebel band, Pussy Riot, have been Jailed for two years after staging an anti-Putin protest. The official reason for their incarceration has been officially listed as “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred (1). ” The sentence has sparked intense global support for Pussy Riot, as well as increased opposition against the Russian government. The all-female band performed this protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral.

After blessing themselves with the sign of the cross, the members, dressed in vibrantly colored masks, bowed towards the alter and ideotaped a “punk prayer. ” Their song called to Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin. The resulting video, titled “Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away’ was subsequently uploaded onto the Internet. The video suggests a direct criticism of Putin’s anti-feministic political infrastructure and aims to undermine his reelection. A still from the released video that landed Pussy Riot’s members in Jail. 11) Their punishment came in the form of “two years deprivation of liberty in a penal colony (1). ” And according to a B. B. C article (1), Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich smiled from inside a glass-walled cage as their verdict was announced on Aug. 17. Tolokonnikova, her fist pumped into the air as she was led out of the courtroom, was sent to Mordovia. The region of Perm was left to Alyokhina. Both are considered the harshest existing camps.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Samutsevich was released last month, but Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, both mothers of small children, will be expected to complete the full sentence. The three awaiting their verdict in the courtroom In terms of the immediate domestic response, Pussy Riot received both support and criticism. And the underlying religious context was undeniable. A group of four women, one of them topless, sawed down a cross at a public square in Kiev. But despite a few small, localized displays of support, many Russians were unsympathetic to the fate of Pussy Riot.

Feminism in the form of direct political action is viewed wearily in the country. The direct criticism came mainly from religious zealots, those who viewed the band’s performance as a direct insult to the Russian Orthodox Church. One demonstrator outside the court in Moscow even shouted, “Let Pussy Riot and all their supporters burn in hell (1). A Time article (2), “Pussy Riot Trial Unleashes Putin’s Secret Weapon: The Orthodox Faithful,” further discusses the issue of religion. “Putin has advocated a return to religion as the core of a new Russian national idea,” says the article.

Putin’s following lack the motivation to guarantee him a reelection and so, “for the church and state, the result would be some kind of symbiosis, which may be Putin’s only chance of reawakening his tired base. ” Additionally, the article believes “[t]he verdict against Pussy Riot has empowered this base and its values,” perhaps strengthening the only true devotees Putin has left. Female protestors in Kiev sawing down a cross. (13) Unlike the domestic response, global outside response to the matter was not centered on religious alliances.

It was also overwhelmingly pro-Pussy Riot. Yet the solidarity seems torn. Though Pussy Riot’s punishment is widely viewed as unjust, some support appears to be a direct result of a pro-Feminist mindset. But others take on an exclusively anti-Russian agenda, focusing their outrage on the governments’ attitude toward freedom of speech and creative expression instead. The Russian government has a certain reputation for being anti-Democratic. The same B. B. C article (1) reports how Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, believes “Russia’s image was quite scary even before [this].

What happened now is a clear sign that Russia is moving towards becoming more like China or North Korea. ” There is no doubt most Western cultures would agree with Verzilov. In fact, shows of support spread throughout Europe and North America, raging through Berlin, London, Dublin, Barcelona, Paris, and New York City. The B. B. C article seems focused on this face of the post-Pussy Riot reaction. It continues to report, quoting opposition eader Alexei Navalny, who exclaimed, “[t]hey are in Jail because of Putin’s personal revenge.

This verdict was written by Vladimir Putin. ” The same source also takes note of Amnesty International’s opinion on the matter. Freedom of expression in Russia took a “bitter blow’ said the organization. U. S. state department spokesman Victoria Nuland was also quoted as having remarked, “We urge Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld. ” The Huffington Post article (3), titled “Defend the Riot: Pussy Riot’s Global Revolution,” further examines what Americans would perceive as a violation of rights.

It argues that Pussy Riot, along with the people theyre speaking for, should have “the right to speak freely and practice one’s religion as they see fit all notions that have become synonymous with our nation yet underappreciated by recent generations of American citizens. ” Taken for granted by some Americans perhaps, but the Jailing of an all-female Russian punk band has more than revived the global insistence for freedom of speech. The article predicts that “Pussy Riot has become one of the most nfluential artists of our generation. Due to their newfound status as political revolutionaries, Pussy Riot has found immeasurably influential spokespeople, as Madonna, Bono, Paul McCartney, Bjork, and a few notable others have publicly stood behind the band. Policymic. com (4), a blog devoted to becoming a public outlet for hushed governmental affairs, also took on the Pussy Riot incident and shed light on certain related religious and political connotations. “Pussy Riot Jailed: Why This is Both a Religious and Political Issue” (4) is similar to the aforementioned Time article 2), “Pussy Riot Trial Unleashes Putin’s Secret Weapon: The Orthodox Unfaithful. But it examines a narrower political effect, the direct result of the band’s incarceration, centering around the idea that the “conviction is yet another example of the collaboration between church and state typical of Russian history, aimed to increase Putin’s power. ” Yet the article believes in this case, “we are witnessing an unprecedented level of collaboration between the ROC [Russian Orthodox Church] and the Putin regime for the purposes of political prosecution. ” “Political prosecution” vokes predatorial action, thereby also suggesting Pussy Riot’s subsequent innocence.

Clearly, many critics, both inside and outside of Russia, are convinced the jailing is ideally representative of the flaws in Russian government, both church- related and purely on the state level. Other sources also reported on this particular government-centered, anti-Russian response to the court’s ruling. However unlike the previous cited articles, they assume the role of devil’s advocate, calling attention to a potential for harm if the West continues to use Pussy Riot as a rallying point against a historically oppositional oreign power.

This eruption of politically driven demonstrations are causing some to worry that the Russian government’s reaction to the incident has redirected the West, and especially the U. S, back to its blindly anti-Russian, Cold War roots. A New York Times article (5), titled “The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot,” warns against “[u]sing dissidents to score political points against the Russian regime. ” It is akin to “adopting a pet tiger: No matter how domesticated they may seem, in the end they are free spirits, liable to maul the hand that feeds them. Painting the Pussy Riot members as nything but radicals lends to a false notion of targeted advocacy. When in actuality, Pussy Riot will likely not linger long under a feminist sentiment. The punk group has previously sung for other issues, including “freedom from patriarchy, capitalism, religion, conventional morality, inequality, and the entire corporate state system. ” Unless the West is also ready to Join this revolution wholeheartedly, it cannot yet use Pussy Riot as a fgurehead for political restructuring in Russia.

Standing behind Pussy Riot now, when “it is obviously blameless and the government clearly guilty, is pure pportunism. ” Another New York Times article (6), “Pussy Riot Was Carefully Calibrated for Protest,” upholds similar views. It mentions Pussy Riot’s unapologetic court statements, which “revealed an intellectual and philosophical rigor, and its earlier efforts with the art group Voina offered even more brazen forms of dissent. ” Voina, Russian for “war,” once recruited the then pregnant Tolokonnikova for a public orgy at a Moscow museum in 2008.

They had also previously set fire to a police car and been accused of obscene vandalism. Pussy Riot’s associations and past actions uggest radicalism, a political stance intolerable to most nations, even the most liberal. “The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot” (5) also discusses the thoughts of Eduard Limonov, a former Soviet dissident and anti-Soviet leftist. During his time in the United States as a Cold War trophy, Limonov concluded, “the F. B. I. is Just as zealous in putting down American radicals as the K. G. B. is with its own radicals and dissidents. His views were met with a cold reception from most Americans despite the evidence supporting his statement, suggesting a bias rooted in patriotism rather than democracy. There is little dispute over the injustice surrounding Pussy Riot’s harsh sentence. But using a specific instance involving radicals to further the anti- Russian attitude could create a dangerous precedent. This Russian artist sewed his lips together to advocate for Pussy Riot and freedom of speech. (14) Others threw their support behind Pussy Riot for reasons leaning more heavily towards pro-Feminism.

Although some supporters used the harsh sentence as a way to highlight injustices of the Russian system, a great amount of outrage arising from the event stemmed from a broader political issue??”the lack of female representation n many modern political systems. A piece by the New Yorker, “Pussy Riot Grrrls,” (7) identifies Pussy Riot’s clearly feminist beliefs, and its similarly feminist audience. For “despite the chasm between freedom of expression in the United States and Putin’s Russia, it’s been impossible to resist connecting Pussy Riot with riot grrrl, the punk- rock, radical-feminist movement of the early nineteen-nineties. Riot grrrl is an underground feminist punk rock movement, typically associated with the modern third wave of feminism. It is primarily concerned with issues pertaining to rape, omestic abuse, sexuality, racism, patriarchy, and female empowerment. But, unlike the American-rooted riot grrls, Pussy Riot had much more at stake and because of the risk involved, created an overwhelming response in the feminist world. A group ot women donning balaclavas to snow support tor Pussy Riot. Though protests have sprung up all over Europe and North America, an article from the Guardian (8) highlights a particular demonstration organized in Leeds.

Like the New Yorker piece (7), it focuses heavily on the female reaction to the band’s incarceration. Reporting on the Leeds protest, the article quotes singer Louise Distras: “Pussy Riot have inspired me by showing how we absolutely have to speak out against media portrayals of women as subordinates. ” She is not alone in her distress. The widely regarded leader of riot grrl, Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill, interviewed with Pitchfork (9), and expressed her views on the matter. To Hanna, “[w]hen their rights are taken away, all of our rights are taken away. Feminism promotes close-knit activism and due to its pack mentality, has a certain connotation in society. “Typically, people think if you’re a feminist, all you talk about is women. But it’s much larger than that; all things are connected. It seemed to me that they clearly understood that,” said Hanna. To true feminists, their cause spans across a wide range of issues, many of which are deeply set in flawed political infrastructures. The previously cited article, “The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot,” (5) almost arrived at this conclusion, but not quite.

Convinced of Pussy Riot’s radicalism, it judged their feminist agenda separate from their political one. And in fact, many sources mentioned above reported on protests that interpreted the unfair treatment f Pussy Riot in a purely anti-Russian sense. What sets coverage like the Pitchfork interview, the Guardian article and the New Yorker piece apart is that despite being heavily focused on the feminist front, the sources seem able to deduce that feminism is political. And thus, the issue, though a clear example of Putin’s iron fist, would only be half represented if portrayed solely as a protest against the Russian regime.

Other sources reporting heavily on the political side seemed to have treated the call for feminism as a matter entirely separate from the lack of certain freedoms in Russia. What Pussy Riot, Hanna, and countless other protestors are trying to bring to light is the realization that feminism is not removed from Justice as a whole. For despite Pussy Riot’s radical affiliations and actions, it would be a mistake to brush off their insistence for feminism as an extension of mere anarchism. Clearly their actions were drastic and graphic, yet their belief system suggests a real political relevancy.

In a Time article titled “Pussy Riot on Trial: The Case Against Feminist Rockers,” (10) band member Garadzha most adequately captures the actual aims of Pussy Riot and their true purpose. Sexists have certain ideas about how a woman should behave, and Putin, by the way, also has a couple thoughts on how Russians should live. Fighting against all that??”that’s Pussy Riot,” she said. Coming from a direct representative ot their cause, i t’s evident there is truth to all sources on the matter.

Feminism is at the forefront of their concerns, but to them, it does relate to the broader issue of oppression in Russia. The article further states, “the women, who are primarily young, educated and middle class, felt the need to protest what they viewed as Putin’s brutal, corrupt and totalitarian rule. Although Pussy Riot’s protest was certainly politically driven and would cause many to raise their eyebrow at the system responsible for their harsh fate, its main message was not to promote skepticism of Russia.

Their goal was to demonstrate the relevancy of feminism under the broader scheme of oppression. Tolokonnikova calling for continued defiance after the hearing. (16) Sources 1 . http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/world-europe-19297373 2. http://world. time. com/2012/08/23/pussy-riot-trial-unleashes-putins-secret-weapon- the-orthodox-faithful/ 3. http://www. huffngtonpost. com/madeline-carey/pussy-riot-free- peech_b_2109754. html 4. http://www. policymic. com/articles/13039/pussy-riot-Jailed-why-this-is-both-a- religious-and-political-issue 5. http://www. ytimes. com/2012/08/21 ‘opinion/the-wrong-reasons-to-back-pussy- riot. html 6. http://www. nytimes. com/2012/08/26/arts/music/pussy-riot-was-carefully- calibrated-for-protest. html? _r=l& 7. http://www. newyorker. com/online/blogs/culture/2012/09/pussy-riot-grrrls-the-next- generation. html 8. http://www. guardian. co. uk/music/2012/aug/21 /pussy-riot-grrl-power 9. http://pitchfork. com/news/47516-interview-kathleen-hanna-on-pussy-riot/ 10. ttp://entertainment. time. com/2012/07/31 /pussy-riot-trial-punk-putin-and- protest/ 11 nttp:/ . q. com/images/news-and-politics/2012/11 /pussy-riot/inset-2. Jpg 12. http://www. eonline. com/eol_images/Entire_Site/2012717/reg_1024. pussyriot. ls. 81712. jpg 13. httpwen. nan. runmages/17527/211175272179. jpg 14. http://rt. com/files/art-and-culture/news/artist-sews-mouth-riot-941 [riot-punk- kazan-pavlensky. n. ]pg 15. httpwgraphtcs8. nynmes. com/tmages/2012/08/26/arts/26JPR10T1 /26JPRlOT1- articleLarge-v2. Jpg 16. http://www. gq. com/images/news-and-politics/2012/11 /pussy-riot/pussy- riot-628. Jpg

x

Hi!
I'm Garrett!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out