Clearly, I’ve not kept abreast of world news – if I had, the treatment of Russian art-punk collective Pussy Riot by Darth Putin would have moved me to write this post previously. Your usually scheduled daily helping of power metal, Christopher Nolan worship and complaints about video game storytelling will be along anon.
Anyone reading the Guardian‘s story on the issue – feminist art punk band play impromptu performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ The Saviour and things go south rapidly - with a long enough memory may recall the Riot Grrl movement of the early nineties, where similarly politicised indie kids used all kinds of situationist techniques to underscore their musical rage but didn’t face the prospect of seven years in jail, as far as I recall.
How things change. Or don’t.
I don’t suppose I should feel any surprise that Vladimir Putin‘s zero tolerance response to criticism of his
dictatorship presidency is to round-up the geeky art students responsible and sling them in the clink, but the brazenness of his actions is sufficient to raise an eyebrow in the West, where our freedom to yell slogans and strum two chords is mostly protected and unlikely to get us into any serious trouble with the law.
Seriously? A trial with a potential jail sentence of seven years for playing a few songs in a church? It’s fair to say that those of us who have reasonable freedom of speech, assembly and dissent in our countries don’t realise just how fortunate we are when we see people protesting on TV and being arrested (or worse) as a matter of course.
I’m going to try to follow this case for future reference – now that the celebrated Twitter Trial in the UK has been sensibly settled in favour of the daft bugger whose off-the-cuff tweet mobilised South Yorkshire police and the head of the DPP against him, it behoves us all to keep an eye on those in power who would seek to use the full weight of the law against any and all criticism of their decisions.
Never trust a politician, kids.
- Anti-Putin feminist punks on trial, Church says women deserve to be prosecuted (psawomenpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Putin’s Religious War Against Pussy Riot (newyorker.com)
- Pussy Riot jailed for six more months (dokmz.wordpress.com)