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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

Wednesday, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of Repulsion at 7 p.m. and Rosemarys Baby at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy The Tenant, the cult comedy The Fearless Vampire Killers and Cul-de-sac among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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