Voina who? Pussy Riot continues to be all the rage in Moscow

Over the past few months, masked members of the band Pussy Riot have been filling the Russian social networks with videos of guerrilla-style performances in the metro stations, the Red Square, and finally (somewhat fatally), The Church of Christ the Saviour, the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church. They’ve been touted “a cross between the Guerrilla Girls and the Sex Pistols,” but let’s not get ahead of ourselves; they mainly seem to have put a Guerrilla Girl spin on Voina, the collective to which some members of Pussy Riot also belong.

While earlier performances have touched on none-too-subtle calls for revolution (“Egyptian air is good for the lungs!”), the group crossed a line in provoking the Church, breaking into sacred space to perform the “Punk Riot Prayer,” which you can watch here, (though you might be best to turn the mute button on first and just read the lyrics):

Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners are crawling and bowing
The ghost of freedom is in heaven
Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB is their chief saint
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend the Holy

The song then concludes with the Tori Amos-esque gem, “Bitch, you better have believed in God.”

The Orthodox Church has brought charges of hooliganism against first two and now three of the band members. While the trial was originally scheduled for March 5 (the day after the controversial elections), it was bumped to April 24, which will mean five weeks in prison for the accused. Their sentence could be anywhere up to seven years, although in recent statements the Church has stressed that it does not consider imprisonment necessary.

In a statement regarding the Prayer, members of the band explained:

[W]e needed to sing it at the altar, and not on the street in front of the temple, that is, in a place where women’s entrance is strictly forbidden. The fact that the ROC is promoting very conservative values, which do not fit into such concepts as freedom of choice and the formation of political, gender and sexual identity, critical thinking, multiculturalism, attention to contemporary culture. We think the Orthodox Church does not currently have enough of all the above phenomena.

On March 31, ZHIR gallery led a press-packed bus-cum-art-exhibition around the Sadovaya Koltso, in support of the group (Watch footage here or just check out a few images here.) This is just one of the many actions trumpeting the case of the accused.

For a more detailed account, we suggest this article on the Financial Times (in English), Pussy Riot’s blog (in mostly Russian, but with a lot of images and video) or the official, multilingual blog for the group’s cause, FreePussyRiot.org.

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4 Responses to Voina who? Pussy Riot continues to be all the rage in Moscow

  1. Pingback: Moscow Art World, Up All Night with plenty on their minds | Baibakov Art Projects

  2. Pingback: Pussy Riot faces even more jail time – without ever being charged! | Baibakov Art Projects

  3. Pingback: The Trial of Pussy Riot, coming to a Twitter feed near you | Baibakov Art Projects

  4. Pingback: The Show Must Go On for Pinchuk and Manifesta; Not So Much, Voina | Baibakov Art Projects

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