This Sundance award-winning documentary tells the story of how Russian feminist punk rockers Pussy Riot captured the world’s attention through their protests and political statements. Ultimately, however, it was their prosecution and incarceration that brought focus to their agenda, and now plight.
Pussy Riot courts controversy to get their message across, particularly through their association with the political performance art group Voina. Their antics are totally outrageous, assaulting the sensibility of even the most liberal minds. But, hey, so do countless other artists vying for attention in an ocean of artists.
Pussy Riot finally crossed the line by staging their provocative “performance prayer” titled “Hail Mary, Putin Run!“, offered to the Virgin Mary, at the altar of Christ the Savior Orthodox Cathedral in Red Square. And the authorities went after them. Three members of the band were each given 2 year sentences, less time served, so at the time of sentencing have about 19 months to go.
Despite their prosecution (their defenders would say persecution), the band members remain defiant. At 1:13:33 of the full video is the closing defence speech of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the members of the band. It is eloquent and thoughtful. We should all consider her words against the ongoing government and corporate assault on our privacy and, ultimately, our own freedom. It is worth three minutes of time to listen to what she has to say. Here is her speech to the court:
Update Dec12: The members of the Pussy Riot punk band, Greenpeace activists and protesters jailed after the May 2012 Bolotnaya demonstration will be freed in an amnesty dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, Russian media report.
Feb07: I think this qualifies as irony. Six members of Russian punk rock collective Pussy Riot have signed an open letter insisting Maria Alyokhina (“Masha”) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (“Nakia”) not be billed as members. It said the two had forgotten about the “aspirations and ideals of our group”. The pair were convicted and jailed for two years after singing a protest song in a Moscow cathedral in 2012, but were freed in December.