Forgive me, I haven’t been keeping up with the Pussy Riot story — this is just the worst possible time of the year for me, with classes starting tomorrow. But I strongly recommend Eric Macdonald’s summary: this is a collusion between an old school tyrant, Putin, and the Russian Orthodox church to silence criticism, and to promote an unthinking, dogmatic nationalism. It’s not just Russia, either, but similar forces are at work in the United States, where God and Country are deeply entangled, and it’s a recipe for world-wide catastrophe.
The problem with Pussy Riot is that they see this clearly, and their music opposes both czar and patriarch. Look at their latest video and you can see their contempt for both.
(You don’t like their music? Tough. I thought it was wonderfully loud and angry and political, and if you don’t care for it, I’m pretty sure Lawrence Welk is still available in reruns on cable. Also, you don’t have to like it to respect the freedom of artists to express themselves.)
There’s also a third cause they’re clearly opposing: the historical confinement of women to very specific gender roles. I don’t know exactly what is going on in Russia, but it seems to be the women who are leading the charge against tyranny. Take a look at the Ukrainian FEMEN, too. Women are becoming the bravest of us all.
They aren’t just fighting against a tyrant and orthodoxy, but against the gender police. I’ve got to admire that.