What Really Happened with Pussy Riot

And now let me explain to you what really happened with Pussy Riot, and we can close this sad discussion for good.

Putin was unhappy about the wave of popular protests that started after the falsified elections to the Russian Parliament (Duma.) Putin’s support among the people of Russia is very high. However, the protests were becoming pretty massive and that made them somewhat threatening. Back in winter, Putin publicly announced his intentions to market the protest movement as a product of a small group of spoiled, perverted, weird and freaky bloggers. He needed the kind of proof that would be sensational enough to convince the majority – his base, his supporters, the people who are not sure what an blog even is – that the protest movement was completely alien to the interests and the mentality of regular Russians.

He succeeded brilliantly.

Most Russian people are not going to identify with women who stuff whole chickens into their vaginas for the purposes of self-promotion, have sex in museums while being in the last months of pregnancy, and use profanity while jumping in front of the altar in ugly clothes*. The entire protest movement now looks completely ridiculous. There was a moment when one could reasonably hope that the protest was going to spread from Moscow to the rest of the country. That moment is now gone.

Among all of the things people did to protest the falsified elections, Putin chose to give publicity to one that was going to condemn the entire protest movement in the eyes of the majority. As a special bonus, well-meaning but somewhat dense Western celebrities started offering opinions, allowing Putin to play his favorite card of “Yet again we are being interfered with by Westerners, now let’s all rally around me, the only leader who can defend Russia from these enemies.”

Now the Russian Orthodox Church is officially asking Putin to let the Pussy Riot go free. Soon, he’ll grant them clemency and will look good to everybody. The protest movement, in the meanwhile. . . well, there is no protest movement any longer.

KGB is immortal, people.

* Mind you, I don’t condemn any of these actions. People are entitled to place whatever they want in their genitalia and film this activity to their heart’s content. I don’t live in Russia, though. Even a much more liberal Ukraine proved too stifling for me.

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29 comments on “What Really Happened with Pussy Riot

  1. I shared this with my Facebook friends who are into the importance of supporting/promoting the actions of Pussy Riot.

  2. Incredibly brilliant political analysis Clarissa :) You sure you don’t teach any political science classes?

    The most interesting part of what Putin did is to educated/informed people (I would like to say you, me, most of the readers of your site etc.) its a complete sham and we can see how full of it Putin is. However, even though its no mystery what he is doing, the vast majority of the “masses” fall for it. It makes me re-consider a little how even in the US “pure partisan politics” may be effective to control the thoughts of the majority of the electorate.

    Regardless, extremely concise and great explanation!

  3. Similar situation with regard to Western perceptions happened with Mugabe when he wanted to appropriate so-called “white farms” for the use of certain peasants. He had learned that if he uses the refrain “colonialism” anything can be justified, no matter how weird, wrong or illegal. Actually, up to a point, his farm takeover rhetoric backfired on him, because by the time he did it, which was around 2000, many white Zimbabweans and South Africans had moved to Australia and Britain and were objecting strenuously through their local politicians. Still, Mugabe is shrewd and was able to pay off some of the people who had expressed that they were not benefiting from the “war of liberation” by giving them some land to farm; that is, to farm in theory. So he could buy off some disgruntled groups and make them supporters, whilst killing the agricultural industry and still keeping any opposition at bay with the magic word, “colonialism”. Westerners love to gravitate around that word more than anything else, although as Ashis Nandy points out, the olden day colonials had absolutely nothing on the contemporary war machine. Therefore we can conclude that Westerners love to project their evil into the past, or at least outside of themselves, and that politicians like Mugabe love to benefit from this.

  4. Very interesting, thanks for this explanation. The main thing I got from articles about this in the German media is ‘Russian people want Punk band to go to prison’, and long rambling comments from male journalist about how sexy and brave these women are, and how backward and sexist the Russians are. Now with your explanations I understand much better why the conservative majority would react like it does…

    • What many people don’t know is that Pussy Riot had performed the same thing in the same outfits and the same lyrics right on the Red Square, in full view of Kremlin. And nobody cared. Their performance drew maybe a dozen listeners who dispersed quickly. Nobody did anything to them as a result.

    • It sadly doesn’t do enough to condemn PR’s actions and dig into how easy it will be for Putin to use this to manipulate politics in his favour, but I think pointing out how ridiculous and completely oblivious the Western coverage has been is a good start.

  5. One thinf though. You are mixing the actions of Voina Group and Pussy Riot’s because of Tolokonnicova participation in both. The chicken vagina, sex in the museum were actions made by another group (yet with a common individual in both). However, I did like your analysis on how Putin managed

    • “You are mixing the actions of Voina Group and Pussy Riot’s because of Tolokonnicova participation in both. The chicken vagina, sex in the museum were actions made by another group (yet with a common individual in both).”

      – A gang of marginal fame-hungry freaks had a splinter group formed, who cares? These are people who are only interested in self-promotion, no matter what they call themselves.

  6. Your posts have definitely changed the way I think of this whole thing — what I read in newspapers emphasizes the anti-Putin nature of their protest, and frames them as, like zinemin describes the German press doing, brave dissidents. Your posts, and the context you provide about this group, goes a long way toward helping me see why most Russians don’t rally around Pussy Riot, even when so many of them are anti-Putin too.

  7. Okay I’m going to ask here since I think I read it here. Along with the acts you mention didn’t they also like damage an church and commit what would almost be vandalism? I’m asking because it seems that they actually were up on charges for actual crimes but that got lost in the feverish rush to use Pussy Riot as a platform for women’s empowerment.

    I’m all for empowerment but that doesn’t give one a free pass on crime. In fact if they did do those things and it was swept under the rug what makes them better than the very forces they are trying to protest?

    (And I’m still laughing at early attempt to get them out bringing up how some of them had children that needed their mothers.)

    • “Along with the acts you mention didn’t they also like damage an church and commit what would almost be vandalism”

      – Yes, there was something like that at yet another church. This was not the first act in a church that they performed. This was a relentless quest to make themselves noticed and now they succeeded.

      “And I’m still laughing at early attempt to get them out bringing up how some of them had children that needed their mothers”

      – I wish I had your sense of humor. All I feel is anger.

      • Yes, there was something like that at yet another church. This was not the first act in a church that they performed. This was a relentless quest to make themselves noticed and now they succeeded.
        And were able to do it such a way that the majority of their supporters have magically forgotten this. No their arrest trial and punishment has nothing to do with damaging property. It’s all about keeping the woman down!

        I wish I had your sense of humor. All I feel is anger.
        If I’m not mistaken you have roots in Russia right? I can imagine this bothering you a lot more than it does me. For me the anger has run dry over how hypocritical people have gotten over this.

      • “And were able to do it such a way that the majority of their supporters have magically forgotten this. No their arrest trial and punishment has nothing to do with damaging property. It’s all about keeping the woman down!”

        – One has to be very deluded to see anything gender-related in this entire incident. Except, of course, the hypocritical whinings to let the women go because they are women.

      • - One has to be very deluded to see anything gender-related in this entire incident. Except, of course, the hypocritical whinings to let the women go because they are women.
        You say stuff like this. This is why I can only laugh about it.

  8. Clarissa “One has to be very deluded to see anything gender-related in this entire incident. Except, of course, the hypocritical whinings to let the women go because they are women.”

    Oh my god, Clarissa, you stated exactly why the entire thing sours me. A ton of celebrities (sadly, including my idol Icelandic singer Bjork) have jumped on the “Please let them go to see their families and children” bandwagon. Bjork herself added the caveat “As a woman and mother myself…”

    I know, she and others are entitled to their opinions, but still…

    It’s amazing people still can’t resist treating women like precious commodities that need to see their families and children in times of extreme subjection but vare rarely do they say the same about men who go through what Pussy Riot it going through.

    • “It’s amazing people still can’t resist treating women like precious commodities that need to see their families and children in times of extreme subjection but vare rarely do they say the same about men who go through what Pussy Riot it going through.”

      – Exactly. You’d think that if these performers had anything to do with feminism, they’d resist this kind of thing.

    • Because I was asleep and couldn’t approve it. :-) I have no idea why some comments get stuck in moderation occasionally. WordPress sometimes does it for no reason. I’m sorry for the inconvenience!

  9. Pingback: The internet, anger, and you « "What is a blog?"

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