Pussy Riot

I’ve chuckled for long enough about a group of young-ish Russian political activists referring to themselves and their band as “Pussy Riot”. But chuckle no more. This aint a joke! Pussy Riot are for real, and now sadly, they are in prison. I hope it hasn’t tainted their youthful innocence, idealism and activist spirit, but inevitably, it can’t not. They were just getting started, had found the seed that illuminated their spark and purpose. They were just getting on their way, together. To put in proper perspective, it is a tragedy disconnect; a general populous that struck down harshly against its young pioneering voices in modern times of technological and cultural transformation for Russia. This happened to generate major rippling waves in the media but is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to protesting the state and privatized industry. I still hear their urgent and ruggedly brutish call-and-response style vocal deliveries in my head. The lyrics are impressively terse as in this pot of gold from the song Punk-Prayer:

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!
 
Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, better believe in God instead
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings
Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!
 
(Chorus)
 
Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away

 
The group embodies a new action and voice of a generation of rebellion, one that has gone almost completely without the teaching of the arts in their motherland, or shall I say, in The motherland. It is mind-boggling to imagine with restricted access (I would say limited, but limited isn’t quite the word) of arts education in Russia, that when a staged public performance takes place by a group of young women in bright neon costuming, they are condemned even by the general public as “heretics”, isolated for the most part and sentenced to two years in  Siberian prison camps. This is heavy. Too heavy for the uninitiated, idealistic, active and spiritually-nonviolent person, that couldn’t and shouldn’t have known the lurking heaviness of the dull hammer of their own state. It is along all too similar lines of the ad-hoc public stunts performed by Ai-Weiwei and the similar backlash it caused in a culture not at all used to Western modes of protest. Both have compelled documentaries that follow their cause and subsequently capture the immense changes taking place within their respective cultures and really, just Westernization altogether.

This is a case of both young and old generations needing to strike a balance and come to  terms with this change. Its people aren’t the problem, it’s the system and its corrupting power-structures, which Pussy Riot and Weiwei (to name the most spectacular examples) rebel against. Not only that, they call for systemic integrity, transparency and protection of basic humanity. It’s just basic common sense, but also historically turbulent territory.

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