Skip to comments.How Pussy Riot Bamboozled the Media
Posted on 08/22/2012 4:31:56 AM PDT by Kaslin
If Justin Bieber or the Rolling Stones suddenly decided to stage an impromptu concert in a public place somewhere in America without a permit, would the authorities ignore it and shrug it off? Doubtful. Even buskers performing in the New York City subway system can't play without formal authorization from the city.
What about taking such a musical performance into a church? If Jennifer Lopez or Madonna just showed up in a place of worship, stripped down to their skivvies and started dancing around the altar, would that fly in any Western democracy? Not likely.
So why, then, are three young women in Russia getting so much sympathy from the mainstream media for doing precisely this inside a Russian Orthodox church?
Last week, three members of the activist group Pussy Riot were each sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. The group's members are part of a larger protest group called Voina, which has previously been involved in various acts of public nuisance, including group sex in a museum and shoplifting a whole chicken from a supermarket by stuffing into an activist's lady parts.
Voina and Pussy Riot are the Russian version of the Occupy Wall Street protest crowd. Their modus operandi is to use "art" in its various forms as a cover for acting like jerks and flaunting police warnings. They exploit the sentiment that artists worldwide generally should be given more behavioral license than the general public because they've historically pushed the boundaries of free expression.
One would hope that the public is able to tell the difference between Pussy Riot and, say, Voltaire -- who was thrown into a French prison for criticizing government and the Catholic Church in his extensive body of writing. Voltaire's career was writing, while Pussy Riot's entire career consists of hooliganism with a sprinkling of poor-quality "music" thrown in. Voltaire published several novels, plays, poems and essays, and in doing so, just happened to tick off the powers that be. Pussy Riot hasn't even recorded an album. Their credibility as artists is poorly established, unlike their activist background.
Boiled down, the Pussy Riot case is just another example of the social media generation's demand for instant gratification and attention in the absence of any sustained hard work. The protesters chose the shallowest form of subversion possible, their rationale apparently being that by doing a lewd can-can-girl number in a church, they can successfully overturn the government of a G8 country. That's some serious stoner logic.
The longer game of subversion would have required them to spend years working to get into a key position within the power structure, then influencing and subverting the system to change what they don't like. The effects of such an effort would have been more organic, credible and durable.
Or, at the very least, they could have practiced for several years to hone their "art" in the event that they were serious about being artists and not just serious about being hooligans. That's why Madonna can say all sorts of nonsense from a concert stage and constantly push the boundaries of free speech without getting arrested -- because she's actually earned the "artist" label and the leeway society affords it.
Somehow Russian President Vladimir Putin has been dragged into all this, presumably because this story is sexier with a Bond villain -- and because it's always preferable to hold someone else responsible for one's own bad behavior. Pussy Riot supporters claim that Putin has the long knives out for the band because they mentioned him in a song. The idea of Putin sitting around blubbering over being badmouthed by some girls in a YouTube video certainly undermines any evil image. The smearing of Putin as hypersensitive and vindictive would have been more credible had they intelligently addressed Putin's policies without breaking any laws, or associated themselves with a larger group of activists known for flaunting it relentlessly and treating it as a joke. Pussy Riot didn't keep its powder dry.
It's not as if Putin just invented the Russian law against hooliganism. The penalty of up to seven years in prison wasn't concocted especially for Pussy Riot. In fact, the same crime of religious hooliganism in Germany carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment -- a year more than the sentence Pussy Riot members received.
The Western media should save its tears for those who truly deserve them.
So do I. They're great for a laugh. :-)
I do think there is some confusion pertaining to this issue. Inconveniently enough, the outward appearance of this group, and some of it's other member's antics are off-putting enough that deeper underlying issues become lost.
As you're link outlines, what they were on trial for;
Yet since Putin successfully plays the sentimentalist, and gives to the Russian church some support and funding from the present regime's ill gotten, criminally contrived gains, some are fooled into thinking him some sort of righteous fellow.
He and his people have killed journalists who ask the wrong questions, or find out too much. How soon we forget, how easily misled...
Putin and his criminals, by co-opting the Russian Church, have succeeding in making their own murderous selves into the voice for morality?
As one of the defendants, Maria Alyokhina put it;
Three members of Pussy Riot were remanded in custody and charged with hooliganism, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years' imprisonment, after conservative Orthodox activists called on the authorities to punish them.
One prominent Orthodox commentator even called for them to be "burnt at the stake".
There was widespread dismay at the women's treatment and the Church's attitude to them, including from some Orthodox Christians.
Hospice charity worker Lidiya Moniava wrote an open letter to the Patriarch urging him to adopt a "Christian attitude" to the women and to stop the "hatred and anger" being vented at them.
The letter was signed by nearly 6,000 people. According to Ms Moniava, more than 1,900 of them were Orthodox Christians and 23 clergy.
Patriarch Kirill was unmoved. He issued a stern rebuke to believers who sought to "justify this sacrilege, to minimise it".
He was referring to relics housed in the cathedral, including a nail said to have been used in Jesus's crucifixion.
Hey great. Protect relics, icons, and one's own personal religious sensibilities concerning them, from perceived insult, at the cost of contradicting example and instruction, provided by Christ Himself. With friends like that, does Jesus really need other enemies?
And once again, that church is now headed by an ex-KGB associate of Putin's and is now a cheerleader for Putin's fascism.
I would think that desecrates the church far worse than anything Pussy Riot could dream up.
I know that. That’s why the issue is hopelessly confused.
The indisputable fact is that you can’t mock God and the sign of the cross in a Russian Orthodox Church without bringing anti-Putin actions to a completely different level.
Someone told them to do this, without telling them that the goal was to fire up anti-Christian sentiment and block the arguments against what they did with the chess piece that is opposition to Putin.
Clever, but “your arms too short to box with God.”
They'll likely be treated very well in prison. Putin turned them into heros.
Yes, I read Kasparov’s article in the Journal.
But if “Pussy Riot” had come and done a pro-Obama thing in front of the altar at St Patrick’s Cathedral, I would have wanted them arrested - and sentenced.
I think the sentence was excessive, but most sentences under the Russian legal system would be considered excessive by us.
That's open for discussion, if a person has nothing else to do. Certainly a case can be made that destroying property to make a political statement is wrong, and an additional case can be made that destroying property to make a political statement is counterproductive. A separate case can be made for the principle that a person who breaks the law to make a political statement should expect to face legal consequences. All these cases stand or fall independently of the content of the political views stated.
Not exactly Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but the Pussy Riot might have a bit of the same idea.
However, if St. Patrick's Cathedral had become an organ of state facism, that changes the nature of the offense quite drastically.
I think this crosses a lot of wires. People think, what would I feel if they did this in MY church? But your church is not an organ for fascism. The ROC has become just that and therefore a legitimate target for protest.
I’m still pissed about that guy going into the Temple and knocking over all of those tables and chasing folks and animals out with a whip.
Good find, thanks or posting.
It's pretty sad that you failed to raise the case that standing up to tyranny was a higher principle than any of the offenses you cited.
Now that fellow was a radical!
You may be sad if you like. In my opinion, “standing up to tyranny” is too vague a principle to be unquestioningly prioritized over all others.
My teenagers think they’re “standing up to tyranny” when they eat all the ice cream we had planned for everyone to share, or leave a mess in the bathroom and their clothes all over the floor. Students think they’re “standing up to tyranny” when they agitate for the “right” to attend class naked, pay no fees, or have curriculum requirements relaxed.
Much political protest is at no greater a level of maturity than that. Why should it be considered so superior as to override, without question, considerations of universal morality?
It is no one's fault but their own that they chose the method which put them in conflict with the law, and now have to serve time. The sentence was appropriate, even mild: they could have gotten seven years but seven years' upkeep would be expensive. Maybe they can spend their two years learning some manners and sewing mittens in the prison shop, but as old as they are, they should already have learned how to respect fellow human beings and should already have found a useful occupation. Two years probably won't be enough for them to learn the difference between protesting and criminal behavior.
But at least they won't have to serve their time in a US jail, where they would learn nothing at all except how to game the system and lie for more sympathy.
Why should it be considered so superior as to override, without question, considerations of universal morality?
Standing up to the likes of Putin are enshrined in the core values of this country and its founders. Sorry that isn't profound enough to pass muster with you.
And with any luck they'll learn to love Big Brother as well.
You seem to be really upset about Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church. I’m not upset, although I might be, if I were following current events in Russia more carefully. This is why I’m discussing general principles, unemotionally, rather than repeating slogans and buzzwords as if they were self-convincing or self-evidently right.
Anyway, have a nice day.
So then protest that collusion somewhere else. Insulting all the pious Orthodox believers in Russia by desecrating their church did not accomplish what it was meant to. It only gave fuel to the anti-Christian fires and would have led to more of the same if the perps were not punished fairly severely.
It confused the two issues of secularism and anti-Putin opposition, too, which may have been its real goal or its secondary one. It was a win-win situation for the agitators. Can’t you see that? And the people begging for a lighter sentence are falling right into the trap.
Yep, liberty for me but not for thee. Can't imagine why anyone would be concerned about such. I mean, this can't happen here. Oh yeah, other than the guy they've involuntarily committed in Virginia for Facebook posts that contained no bona fide threats.
But he's a truther, so I guess I should be like you guys and applaud his being locked up in an Orwellian nightmare because I loathe trutherism.
Except I realize that the next person locked up for inconvenient viewpoints may well be me.
The pious Orthodox should be taking to the streets with pitchforks for Putin putting his own ex-KGB toadie in charge of the ROC. I guess I don’t have a lot of sympathy for folks who don’t take action when their own church has been usurped by fascists. They lost their moral right to be offended by Pussy Riot when they refused to be offended - and act on that offense - by what Putin has done to their institution. It is the silence of such masses that makes it possible for the likes of Putin to stay in power.
I know what we would NOT do. Last time I checked the liberals had made a mockery of the national cathedral, and the Riverside Church was the home of the communist anti-nuke movment. I don't see the Tea Party organizing physical acts against these churches that have strayed. There are churches all over this country which are little more than a branch of hard left liberalism, etc. We have the Phelps monstrosity of a "Baptist" church doing its best to enrage people. No tea party member has led a mob of protestors into the interior of that bogus and horrible "church" to make a point. We have countless black urban churches which serve as props for the advancement of communism and we would not dare enter them and dance about grotesquely at their altars. We have Louis Farrakhan and his cult promoting some of the nastiest things imaginable and still, we know it would do us no good or our cause no good to bust into his mosque precisely because it would demean us and what we stand for.
The pen is a powerful tool, people should consider using it before resorting to defiling religious institutions, however disagreeable or political they might be.
If they didn't vandalize or harm anything (other than someone's feelings) then don't erroneously claim that they did. It doesn't help.
As for "desecration"---- what exactly did they desecrate? Did they spray paint a statue or something? Or is the charge of desecration itself also fluffed up?
Perhaps I missed credible reports of actual damage.
You touch here on an important element, for Putin gets to punish some of his critics, painting them as disgusting hedonists, while the church gets the blame for him doing so.
Which serves to leave him king-of-the-hill, with the church beneath, in effect cutting off any further power of dissent from that institution and direction, making it more politically difficult for persons of faith in Russian society to oppose him.
So what do you think? Is PR simply serving as a sort of self-starting group of "useful idiots"?
Does the rabbit hole go deeper than we actually know (but some suspect & speculate upon) and these over-active libertines are to an extent being craftily manipulated?
I'll go for the combo platter, in that I'd wager only a few of them are Putin/government directed infiltrator/agent provocateurs, with the rest of the 'Riot' crowd just doing what comes natural.
The Russian Patriarch could defuse this, if he carefully (with enough prayer) were to ask for a reduction, or setting aside of the sentence.
Why not use the moment to help define Christ, while drawing people more closely to the church? It could possibly be done. This lack of forgiveness, this hardness of heart which he displays, certainly does not outwardly appear of the Lord.
There is still time, both now and later, for the church to set itself somewhat above and apart, amid calls for mercy and forgiveness towards the wretchedly sinful.
It can forgive offense aimed towards itself easily enough (and should!)...although in this instance, the real offense committed by PR was to try and embarrass the church away from being so much under Russian government influence, while taking a stab at expressing opposition to Putin's government, at the same time...
All the more reason to find the right way for the church to ask the government to amend the sentencing...
Doing so would both call Putin's bluff (that he is in actuality a Christian) and weaken those in opposition to the church, making it more difficult for them to point and say "Putin= church & church authorities".
A *brilliant* move it is to give one's enemy the opportunity to play defender of the faith. Putin could not have asked for better helpers.
That people defend this behavior and even compare it to "classic" Russian dissidents like Solzhenitzen is galling.
Their trial has galvanized opposition to Putin within Russia in a way that nothing has in years.
All I’m saying is that if a weakened Russia is your wish, be careful what you ask for....the Muslims are looking at Russia as their big prize, and their numbers are growing throughout the country.
My only complain with Putin is his continued support of Iran.
Russians have suffered enough. The ones still alive are not the ones who put themselves and their loved ones in great danger but the multitudes who kept the faith quietly in the hope that God would rescue them. Both roles take courage.
In any case, they are not about to protest in a church. That’s the issue, not whether the people are activist enough. And if they were not activist enough for some, that doesn’t mean they merit this kind of blasphemy.
Somehow, I think Solzhenitzen would be much more sympathetic to what Pussy Riot did than to those who fail to stand up to Putin by going to church and not demanding their church be a house of worship instead of an organ of a fascist state.
Did I say that? I said take to the streets with pitchforks. The real fight is against Putin and his goons, not the church elders. But the church elders have to know their flock won't be led down that path before they will take a stand.
If you’ve not done so already, I encourage you to actually read their statements to the court. They quote Dostoevsky, Solzhenitsin, Bukovsky and scripture, among others, and refer to the trials of Socrates and Brodsky. You may chose to reject their claim because they have a punk aesthetic that you do not find congenial, or because you are offended they sang a song not found in the Russian Orthodox hymnal, “Mother of God, Drive Putin Out, but it is crystal clear that they explicitly place themselves in the Russian intellectual and Christian dissident traditions. To my eyes they have a fully articulated and indeed quite eloquent rationale for doing so.
So what is the proper punishment for these dimwits creating a disturbance? Five years? Ten years? Life? Capital punishment? Two years in prison for acting like an idiot is a tad harsh. I would say if they destroyed things or physically harmed people, but I didn’t read about them wrecking anything or hurting anyone.
News reports have been stating that most Russians do not back this so-called “band” (protesters). Their support seems to be coming from outside Russia.
Your messages are giving the impression that you haven’t seen the video (and other videos) of what these women did and have been doing (together with some men) in Russia.
Here is the profanity-laced (in Russian language) “impromptu performance” they gave in the cathedral:
As you can see, they’re creating a big disturbance... and using profanity in front of the visiting public. Security is trying to remove them gently, and they keep running back to their spots.
But that’s not the only thing they ever did...
Please check out cunning_fish’s post #77 at the link below. There are links to more videos documenting this group’s public protests. There’s a big difference between civil disobedience and what this group has been doing. They’ve been wreaking havoc. You’ll recognize the women’s faces in the videos:
(Ping to cunning_fish)
Do get a grip. The ROC is not an “organ of state fascism.”
Because of their nature (existing without an authority outside of their national or linguistic boundaries, since the Patriarch of Constantinople is not exactly a force anymore and hasn’t been one for probably a millenium or so), Orthodox churches are often more nationalistic than, say, the Catholic Church in a given state. However, it’s a far cry from that to say that this means the ROC is an organ of state fascism.
Pussy Riot picked the church because they wanted to shock and insult; if they had simply wanted to protest some Putin policy, there are many other places they could have done so.
Sorry, Pussy Riot was not making a bold political statement but was like the AIDS “protestors” doing their thing with condoms at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
They deserved a jail sentence, just not such a severe one - although, as I say, by Russian standards, they probably got off lightly.
Many thanks for your ping, Tired of Taxes!
An idea of my post is it’s not acceptable to accept unacceptable.
We may not support these NWO agents there and more important every sane person has to be ready to treat agitators like that upon their arrival to a city near you as if they are a bubonic rats.
>>>>>>>Pussy Riot picked the church because they wanted to shock and insult; if they had simply wanted to protest some Putin policy, there are many other places they could have done so.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
I’m sorry but they’ve choosen to protest Putin because they could’t get any media attention on MSNBC if they’ve simply screamed “!@#$ the church! !@#$ the police!”
Well, your impression was correct - I’d not seen them. Following your links, I watched the one in the church and another one that appeared to be in a court room. Worth the trip to fill out the picture, so thanks.
The Wiki entry on them doesn’t quite correspond to Cunning Fish’s narrative, as the group wasn’t formed as such until August 2011, though it emerged from the group CF referred to. And, obviously, they can’t be punished in this case for what they did on some other occasion.
The translation of the lyrics to their “song” at the cathedral didn’t contain profanity beyond the word “crap,” but that in itself is not very signfiicant.
Giving due regard to the videos, I grant the point that the disruptions they caused are sufficient to warrant their physical removal from the premises and their arrest on very minor charges. If all I knew was the videos, and nothing of the court statements, I would have very little sympathy for them. But their court statements are eloquent and compelling for the reasons that are obvious if you read them. The protests themselves, not so much. They are also on a slippery slope of self-justification, insofar as what they think is appropriate to do.
May I suggest we agree that (1) their deeper message as set out in their court statements has merit; (2) their time, manner and place of expression were legitimately curtailed at the time; and (3) they were excessively punished thereafter?
This group exists since about 2008. I don’t think it makes any difference if they took a name “Pussy Riot”(for PR reason) in 2011.
That is their earlier videos, you can see all that same faces:
Spraying urine on police officers and playing outrage over illegal arrest. Pay attention to babies these vermins always hang with them to make police soft on them:
Humiliating a cop at his home. A flashmob in a small towns police station involving harassment of random policemen and disrupting their work.
A simple Google query brings up all kinds of articles that indicate otherwise.
And if Obama acted like Putin, would you still feel the same way?
I still don't see the "vandalism" and "desecration" in the cathedral that another here was claiming, either.
How dangerously disobedient. Wannabe, power-tripping rent-a-pigs everywhere, are enraged by such conduct.
But that's the only thing they faced trial for. Chew on that for a while.
From the links... One showed some government vehicles burned. Now that is a bit of "havoc". Were the girls on trial for that? I DIDN'T THINK SO.
The rest is disruptive, but not quite "havoc". The trial they disrupted... interrupting the hearing set to send 2 leading curators of contemporary critical art in Russia to prison. needed interrupting.
Simply respectfully "protesting" outside wouldn't accomplish diddly squat. That action most certainly WAS civil disobedience. Yet how exactly did they get all that equipment into a court-like hearing room? Inquiring minds would like to know.
The one with the guy running on foot over the top of the "KGB" political police official's car qualifies as a form of civil disobedience. It was funny in a way. The guy making a fool of himself did a good job of making a fool of the political minders/ political police.
The girls kissing other girls -- whom cunning fish termed "attacks on police cadets" --- were "attacks" of unasked for hugs and kisses. Oh the horror!
Do you guys ever listen to yourselves talk? jailed forever?
Do these people complaining about Putin ever complain about the Saudis’ treatment of women?
yes, the Patriarch could defuse it as you said. I do see that PR is playing into the hands of Putin (whether deliberately or not, it’s anyones guess)
Exactly. Straightaway these "useful idiots" have pushed away people who were fence-sitters or just confused. it has already been wonderful for Putin to paint all opposition as PR-type.
The opposition like Kasparov should not be considered the same as PR, but PR's antics have besmirched them, pushing back the moral authority of the opposition.