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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

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldnt miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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