Three members of Pussy Riot, the radical, neon balaclava-wearing group of Russian feminist activists that challenged the Kremlin with their electrified feminist performance protests, went on trial in Moscow on Monday in a case that will set the tone for Vladimir Putin's new presidency.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, and Maria Alekhina, 24, face up to seven years in jail, simply for performing a protest song in a cathedral. They felt that the church was a representation of the "nexus of corruption" that  takes place between Putin and some officials of the church.

Pussy Riot blasted their own music in the city's main cathedral, dancing wildly as they played. They shouted: "Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!" They were arrested in February and went on a hunger strike promptly thereafter. When their court date was pushed to July after a few weeks, they went off the strike, as they would not be able to survive. They were striking because they have small children, yet are being detained and kept entirely away from them. 

Delivered to court in handcuffs and seen above barricaded by bullet-proof glass, the women assert that they are not guilty of the "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred." They admit that their choice of venue may leave them in the "ethical" wrong, but still hold the belief that they are not guilty of religious hatred, only political protest. 

In the past, the group has played protest gigs in their usual disguises in a few outstanding venues. Most notably, the roof of a prison for political prisoners and the infamous Red Square. 

Maria Alyokina, one of the imprisoned, said, "I thought the Church loves all children, but the Church only loves children that love Putin."

Celebrities, both abroad and in the states, are coming out to support the women, whose unfair sentencing and captivity is a perfect example of Putin's political brutality. "Nadya, Katya, Masha. You have the right to make your own prayers – from the heart. I hope you will be released very, very soon. We are all watching," Peter Gabriel wrote. 

Other recent support for Pussy Riot by other popular bands and musicians included: 

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Franz Ferdinand, Sting, Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys, Alice Bag, Le Tigre, Faith No More, Anti-Flag, Plastic People of the Universe, Nina Hagen, Billy Bragg, and many more.


Permanent Wave, a collective in NYC, has been organizing in order to support Pussy Riot with fundraisers. You, too, can help the band. Please head over to Free Pussy Riot to find out how. You can also head over to Amnesty International to take action and tell the Russian authorities to drop all charges and release them! Or, if you're in the D.C. area, throw on some neon head wear and be a hero; gather with other protesters outside the Russian embassy and tell them: "we won't be quiet, free Pussy Riot!"

Images courtesy of The Daily Beast, the Huffington Post DC, the Guardian and WikiPedia.

 

 

 

Tagged in: trial, Russia, putin, Pussy Riot, protest, Music, law, feminism   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.


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