The controversy behind the Punk Rock group Pussy Riot and the issue of freedom of expression in Russia raised concern for activists and celebrities across the world. The court sentenced each member to two years in prison with the charge of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for the “Punk Prayer” protest at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow back in February of 2012. It was a protest song against the re-election of Vladimir Putin. The U.S. and British media and the opposition in Russia started a propaganda campaign accusing Putin of influencing Russia’s judicial process on the court’s decision made on members Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Maria Alyokhina . International organizations such as Human Rights Watch condemned the ruling in The Huffington Post with the headline that read “Pussy Riot: Band Members’ Conviction a Blow to Free Expression”. Human Rights Watch was critical of the Russian court’s decision “The conviction of three members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot on August 17, 2012 is inappropriate and disproportionate. The three women were convicted on charges of hate-motivated hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison”. Amnesty International also stated that they were “prisoners of conscience”. Music Celebrities Madonna, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting and many others voiced their support. The world is appalled by the courts decision because freedom of expression is under attack in Russia and Putin should be held accountable. This is what the media, human rights organizations such as Amnesty International (UK) and Human Rights Watch (US) along with music celebrities want you to believe.
But let’s look at some facts about Pussy Riot and their history of artistic expression. First, Pussy Riot is an offshoot punk rock band that was formed after their street-art group “Voina” (which means “War” in Russian). The Group practiced performance art with political messages but eventually split up. Voina came on the scene on May 1st, 2007 when they threw live cats at a McDonalds’ restaurant counter in Moscow. They claimed that they wanted “to break-up the drudgery of worker’s routine day”. Animal activists would have been angered by Voina’s cruelty to the cats used in the incident.Voina rejected societal norms such as gainful employment and the use of money. Their views on the system enabled them to steal food and beverages from grocery stores which they considered a form of art. In 2008, they staged an orgy as an example of artistic expression in Moscow’s Timiryazev State Musuem of Biology. By the way, Voina member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova who participated in the orgy was 9-months pregnant and gave birth 4 days later to a baby girl, a fact that the media forgot to tell you about. In 2010, Voina was back in the spotlight; one of the member’s stuffed a frozen chicken in her vagina in a St. Petersburg “Nakhoda” supermarket while being filmed by another member and walked out without paying for it. And yes, this is art. After all, we should appreciate art for its beauty and its meaning behind it, right? In 2010, Voina overturned a police car in order to get a ball that was under the car that belonged to a member’s son. After the group split due to internal strife, Pussy Riot was founded in August 2011. Their first public performance was in November 2011 when several masked women performed Osvobodi Bruschatku (“Release the Cobblestones”) on top of a scaffold in a Moscow subway, while tearing apart feather pillows allowing the feathers to fall onto the train platform below. Now this is art! Later that month, several members played “Kropotkin Vodka” on the roof of an automobile that was displayed in a shopping district. The performers discharged fire extinguishers into the air. Others members displayed themselves masturbating inside the windows of a fashion boutique. They raided the stage of a fashion show by interrupting the catwalk of the models. On January 20, 2012, they played a song on the Lobnoye Mesto in Red Square, entitled Putin Zassal (“Putin Pissed Himself”) and lit a smoke bomb. Members were arrested and briefly detained for the incident.
The actions committed by the former group Voina and now Pussy Riot would have been arrested and jailed in most countries throughout the world. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are used as “credible” institutions that voice concern over human rights issues are clearly cherry picking Pussy Riot’s verdict in an attempt to create an anti-Kremlin stance. Is it possible that Washington and London is using what Tri-Lateral commission member and Harvard Professor Joseph Nye describes in his book “Soft Power”. A strategy used by the United States that funds, promotes, and trains internal opposition groups, human rights activists, and pro-democracy groups to create a destabilizing situation within a country that Washington seeks to change. It can also be that Pussy Riot is seeking fame through controversial acts they consider art. They never produced any albums or paintings. Are they true artists? Their songs and videos were described by an Associated Press article on August 18, 2012 as “Badly recorded, based on simple riffs and scream-like singing, the feminist singers were dismissed by many critics and listeners as amateur, provocative and obscene”.Why Madonna (who had her own controversy with her video “Like a Prayer” that angered the Catholic Church due to the sexual content between her and a black angel) and other famous artists gave their blind support for a group like Pussy Riot? Do they hate Putin? Are they for the freedom of expression of all artists, talented or not? Or are they just voicing their support for media attention to get on the political bandwagon? Pussy Riot is not a musical talent. They were not even known throughout the world until the “Punk Prayer” incident. But the one thing can be said about Pussy Riot is that they were involved in acts that were absurd. It is disturbing to see the members of Pussy Riot, a relatively young group engaged in such acts they consider art. It is actually a sad situation for young people across the world to see a group of so-called artists to perform in ways that are appalling. Although Putin did not agree with Pussy Riot’s action at the Church, he said “nonetheless, I do not think that they should be judged severely for this.” Perhaps he sees them as a group of troubled individuals or a group that is seeking fame, but one thing is certain, the world is spending too much time and energy on a punk rock group that has no talent or morals that disrespected Russian Orthodox Christians no matter if you agree or disagree with any form of religion. It is disrespectful. However, Pussy Riot should not be imprisoned. At most they should be fined and released everytime they are arrested for their public performances. Do not give them the opportunity to gain notoriety on the world stage.
The best thing that the world would do for Pussy Riot is to ignore them because they have no talent. Plain and simple. They are a fraud, a con job. They will fade away from the public eye and justly so because people do not see them as talented musicians, they see them as individuals who go to the extreme to prove a political point through performance art, one that leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Putting them behind bars would only elevate them to stardom. The Pussy Riot case is one example how the West uses certain groups to create instabilities in Russia by dividing the people over freedom of expression and other political issues. Pussy Riot was the answer for the enemies of Russia. Hopefully the Russian courts would overturn their sentence and release all members of Pussy Riot. If Pussy Riot were to serve in prison, it would only add credibility to their cause and this would allow them to gain recognition as celebrities. Do them no favors.
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