More Pussy Riot from Melbourne to Moscow

Yeah so in case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard, last week (August 17) three members of the Russian group Pussy Riot — Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova — were sentenced to two years in a penal colony for the crime of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’; viz, performing a protest song against President Vladimir Putin in an Orthodox church (Cathedral of Christ the Savior) in Moscow on February 21, 2012 [original video | dubbed video].

Judge Marina Syrova called their behaviour “blasphemous” and described it as a “gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society”. She also said, “The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules”.

I wonder how she feels about Angry Kremlins? (Or the hackery-dackery-do of her court?)

You can read the three women’s closing trial statements here.

Other articles of interest include Vadim Nikitin, The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot, The New York Times, August 20, 2012: “…what Pussy Riot wants is something that is equally terrifying, provocative and threatening to the established order in both Russia and the West (and has been from time immemorial): freedom from patriarchy, capitalism, religion, conventional morality, inequality and the entire corporate state system.” Sara Joseph (Castan Centre for Human Rights Law) takes ‘A closer look at the Pussy Riot phenomenon’ here (August 24, 2012).

Sean Guillory examines ‘Pussy Riot as Modern Day Skomorokhi’ (Russian minstrels to which Tolokonnikova compared Pussy Riot) on his blog here (August 23, 2012).

In Counterpunch (The Secret History of Pussy Riot, August 23, 2012) a rather deranged Israel Shamir (AKA Jöran Jermas/Adam Ermash) reckons, inter alia, that an OMGWTF! Jewish bloke named Marat Gelman is teh bRanes behind Pussy Riot, claims that the US State Department paid for the August 17 single published by The Guardian, blames another OMGWTF! Jewish bloke (Alex Plutser-Sarno) for the antics of the group Voina (from which Pussy Riot is understood to have emerged) and otherwise writes the kind of shit you’d expect of a bizarro.

On, Bec Zajac documents a Melbourne rally in support of Pussy Riot held on the day of their sentencing (Local Artists Protest For Pussy Riot, August 20, 2012). (See also : Free Pussy Riot! Melbourne rally, Friday, April 20, April 17, 2012.)

On Sunday, September 2, 2012 there’s a benefit gig at The Gasometer Hotel (484 Smith St, Collingwood) *ing the fabulously talented Terrible Truths, Glow, Spitehouse, Wet Lips, Ex Con and Sick Sad World. All proceeds go to assisting the three women with their legal costs, child care and other needs.

PS. Fuck Putin.

Of related interest : A Survey of Russia’s Most Radical Contemporary Artists, Marina Galperina, Flavorwire, August 15, 2012.


Bob (He’s From Brockley) recommends reading Soupy One’s blog, which has republished an article originally published by Searchlight in May 2004 and titled ‘Israeli writer is Swedish anti-Semite’; he’s also compiled a list of other articles critical of Shamir here.


Vice‘s Harry Langston interviewed Voina’s Alexei Plutser-Sarno and published the results here while Art Threat published an article in February 2011. See also : Stefan van Drake, Voina Group: bios of the key players (December 12, 2011).

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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6 Responses to More Pussy Riot from Melbourne to Moscow

  1. lumpnboy says:

    Shamir’s rise is truly bizarre. From a nutter allied with other anti-semitic nutters pushing their way into Palestine solidarity and encountering quite a bit of push-back, to a regular at Counterpunch somehow associated with Wikileaks. Counterpunch is a massively uneven site, and one that doesn’t host debates or replies to articles published, which would seem to make the responsibility involved in publishing greater, and Shamir and his nutter-buddies – Atzmon and such – seem to get a very gentle ride and an easy path to publication. The recently-late Alexander Cockburn used to write intelligent things about the stupidity of conspiracy theory and of racializing conspiracy theory, but he seemed unflinchingly willing to put the nonsense of these people on the site he co-edited, giving them a relatively large and contested exposure. Whatever his eccentricities, I find it difficult to believe that Cockburn shared their worldview, making the whole thing, to me, genuinely inexplicable.

  2. lumpnboy says:

    Damn, I meant “uncontested exposure”, I suppose. Though even that seems like a badly-chosen phrase…the lack of contestation isn’t just or primarily of their exposure, but of the content of their work…

  3. @ndy says:

    Shamir is a bit of a bozo.


    Universally admired, Pussy Riot (or PR for short) have been promoted as superstars. But what are they? A rock or punk group they are not. A British journalist marvelled: they produce no music, no song, no painting, nada, rien, nothing. How can they be described as “artists”? This was a severe test for their supporters, but they passed it with flying honours: that famous lover-of-art, the US State Department, paid for their first ever single being produced by The Guardian out of some images and sounds.

    Which claim he supports by linking to an article in the LA Times (Pussy Riot releases single, gets support of U.S. State Department, August Bromwich, August 17, 2012) which reads:

    On the day that three members of the Russian punk-activist group Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in jail for the charge of “hooliganism driven by religious hatred,” they earned a few new fans as well.

    First, the other members of the band released a new single online, “Putin Lights Up the Fires.” The Guardian newspaper in England compiled clips and stills for an accompanying video, and the song could be a post-sentencing rallying cry for the millions of music fans and free-speech advocates following the case.

    In a later announcement, the U.S. State Department issued an official message of concern over Friday’s verdict. Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that “The United States is concerned about both the verdict and the disproportionate sentences handed down by a Moscow court in the case against the members of the band Pussy Riot and the negative impact on freedom of expression in Russia. We urge Russian authorities to review this case and ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld.”

    In other words, the article he cites, which one would assume would provide evidence of the US State Department financing the release, and hence justifies his claim, does nothing of the sort.

    And that’s just the first fucking paragraph!

    Well, unless the State Department finances The Guardian… The Money Power works in mysterious ways, after all!

  4. @ndy says:


    OK then.

    Here’s the deal.

    I won’t tell anyone if and only if a li’l bit of that Money and Power is given to me, to wit;

    1. You establish an open account for me at Glick’s in the city;
    2. I am provided with a free weekly pass to Elsternwick cinema;
    3. A sit-down with Morry Schwartz (at a restaurant of my choosing and at his expense) is arranged, at which I’m afforded sufficient time to pitch not only my idea for a great new book but a terrific business opportunity, one which will benefit both Mr Schwartz and myself;
    4. John Safran accompanies me to this appointment and agrees to nod vigorously in agreement whenever I raise a contentious issue and otherwise make supportive noises, humorous sounds and incisive points in furtherance of my pitch;
    5. In the unlikely event The State or some other Power seeks to prosecute my entirely legitimate business and political interests and practices, Robert Richter agrees to provide me with pro bono legal advice, support and representation.

    In which case, I’ll consider keeping my mouth shut.

  5. luther blissett says:

    In the Russian language version of Voina’s site on the “Helping Voina” page they put “St. Petersburg’s National Bolsheviks” on the thanks list. So I was thinking, if Pussy Riot was spawned out of Voina is it possible that there’s some kind of sketchy connection of Pussy Riot with Nazbol? Voina is also supporting a prisoner accused of pertaining to RASH and did an action in memory of Makhno in the past so it seems a little confused. Russian politics – How does it work?

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