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Female fury

The latest sensation on the Russian underground music scene talks about its songs.

Published: February 1, 2012 (Issue # 1693)



  • Pussy Riot performed a song called Putin Got Scared on Moscows Red Square late last month.
    Photo: PUSSY-RIOT.LIVEJOURNAL.COM

Pussy Riot, a feminist punk collective from Moscow whose members hide their faces behind colored balaclavas, creates waves of protest through its dissident songs and unsanctioned performances which culminated late last month in a brief unauthorized concert on Moscows strictly guarded Red Square.

The group, which performed a freshly penned anti-Kremlin song called Putin Got Scared (Putin Zassal) complete with colored smoke bombs and a purple feminist flag was arrested and, after being held for about five hours in a police precinct, two members were fined 500 rubles (around $17) each. The members were charged with holding an unauthorized rally.

Red Square is symbolically the main place of the country; we believe that it is the place that should be occupied to achieve a real political change, its the equivalent of Tahrir for Russia, Pussy Riot said in an email interview this week.

In an email, a member who calls herself Garadzha Matveyeva said that the group answered the questions collectively just as it writes its songs.

For the Red Square performance, the group chose as its stage Lobnoye Mesto a 13-meter-long stone platform previously used for announcing the tsars ukases as a reference to the historic demonstration of seven Soviet dissidents who came to the site with the slogan For our freedom and yours to protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 25, 1968. The dissidents subsequently spent years in prisons, psychiatric asylums and in exile.

We believe that the Soviet Unions aggressive imperial politics are similar in many ways to Putins course, Pussy Riot said.

The way the state treats its citizens hasnt changed much since the times of the U.S.S.R.; there is still paternalist supervision and police control over people. Secondly, we always try to choose elevated platforms similar to a concert stage so Lobnoye Mesto met our needs in this sense.

Putin Got Scared was inspired by the spontaneous, unsanctioned protests against the rigged State Duma elections in December.

The song was written in the aftermath of the Dec. 5 events and is permeated with the radical mood of protest of that day, when after a 10,000-strong rally on Chistiye Prudy a number of protesters managed to break through the OMON police cordons and around 1,000 marched almost to the Kremlin itself, the group said.

The police were at a loss, they didnt know what to do; they were waiting for orders in astonishment and didnt dare touch the protesters. The orders to detain the demonstrators didnt come until the people had already reached the Kremlin, half an hour after the march had begun. The authorities were frightened.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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