Seen Beyond

Pussy Riot’s in Sochi

Pussy Riot’s first video to feature Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina since the two were released from prison in late December. President Vladimir Putin himself granted the amnesty, in what was widely seen as an attempted act of forgiveness for the 2012 anti-Putin protest that landed them in prison in the first place.

The video makes clear that Russian punk band Pussy Riot has no intention of packing up its multicolored balaclavas and biting lyrics. Members of the group don their trademark outfits and attack Putin on human rights, media suppression, judicial and constitutional failures, and his use of police force to maintain order.

When members of the Pussy Riot appeared in Sochi this week to shoot the music video, they were apprehended and beaten by a Cossack patrol. Russian media personalities on all sides of the political spectrum have spoken out about the incident, and almost no one has sided with the Cossacks. Even those who are no fans of Pussy Riot, say that ordinary citizens cannot use violence to force society to adhere to their rules.

Blogger Alexei Makarov argued that Cossacks are not police officers, and even if they help the police to patrol the streets, they have no right to beat people up. “Nobody should use violence against women,” he wrote.

The Olympic Games are a direct target of the song’s lyrics, with references to two controversial torchbearers who participated in the opening ceremonies — former Olympians Irina Rodnina, who has come under fire for a racist tweet about U.S. President Barack Obama, and Alina Kabayeva, long rumored to be Putin’s lover.

“A two-assed toilet,” a lyrical reference to a viral image from Sochi of two barrier-free toilets standing next to each other, mocks the billions Putin spent on the Winter Games in an effort to impress the world.

Here are the lyrics, as translated on the Pussy Riot YouTube link:

50 billion and a gay-driven rainbow,
Rodnina and Kabaeva will pass you those flames
In prison they will teach you how to obey
Salut to all bosses, hail, duce!

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

Sochi is blocked – Olympic surveillance
Special forces, weapons, crowds of cops
FSB is an argument, the police is an argument State tv will run your applause.

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

Spring to Russia comes suddenly
Hello to the messiah as a shot from Avrora
The prosecutor will put you down
Give him some reaction and not those pretty eyes

A cage for the protests, vodka, matrioshka
Prison for May 6, more vodka and caviar
The Constitution is lynched, Vitishko’s in prison
Stability, the prison meal, the fence and the watchtower

For TV Rain they’ve shut down the airwaves
They took gay pride down the washroom
A two-ass toilet – a priority
Sentence to Russia, medium security, 6 years

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

The motherland
The motherland
The motherland

First published at Radio Liberty


Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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