Pussy Riot are a female Russian punk band, three of whom were arrested in February this year when a video surfaced of them playing an anti-Putin song in the Christ the Saviour Church in Moscow. They were protesting against the role that the Russian Orthodox Church plays in supporting Putin.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Mariya Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich have been in prison since then, and are now on trial for Hooliganism. The maximum sentence for this is seven years, and Pytor Verzilov, husband of one of the women says in the Observer today “it’s 100% sure the girls will be convicted. The question is only: how long will they get?”. In the meantime it appears they are sleep deprived, barely fed and in the middle of a show trial.
Amongst Pussy Riot’s high profile supporters calling on Putin to let sense prevail are Markus Loening, FDP, Human Rights Commissioner of the German Federal Government, the US Ambassador to Russia, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, Amnesty International, Stephen Fry and a host of names from the musical world including, Sting, Jarvis Cocker, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and more. But not surprisingly, the one person you would expect to be all over this, the woman who has made her name out of mocking the church, the superstar who indeed Pussy Riot cite as an inspiration, has only been moved to say she is “sorry they’ve been arrested”. Hardly nailing your colours to the mast there Madge. Perhaps she is just too busy to take a more resolute stance, after all her world tour comes to Rome tonight, where her ”blasphemous” routine featuring her singing on a cross is expected to cause “outrage” in the Vatican’s back yard. Seems Madonna is happy to take on the oratorical yet basically powerless Vatican, but the bruiser politician Putin and massive Russian sales opportunities, not so much.
I guess her anti religion, free speech posturing has been just that all along, like the nipple flashing, buttock baring shock tactics, just another example of the corporate machine, masquerading as someone with beliefs. Now, those beliefs are pertinent and potentially influential, she has like so many false idols, been found wanting.