60 Minutes with Pussy Riot

By ajcolores

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Excuse Lesley Stahl’s cartoonish intro. It’s clear 60 minutes isn’t used to profiling punk rock bands, imprisoned, feminist punks from Russia, or otherwise. In setting the stage for her story on Pussy Riot, Stahl clearly had our delicate American sensibilities in mind:

The young women have become the poster girls of Russian dissent, unlikely considering they’re a punk band on YouTube that makes lewd gestures in cartoonish get-ups. Most of what they do is deliberately offensive; it might offend you — like, for starters, their obscene, but attention-grabbing name: Pussy Riot.

Whoa.

What followed however, was an in-depth look at where the members who participated in the punk prayer against Putin in a Russian cathedral are now, after the trial.

One is free, because she didn’t dance on the altar. One, remains in hiding. And, two, are locked away at labor camps.

More revealing, may be the statements of Russian official, Sergei Markov, who admits Putin’s Russia had to file trumped up charges and pursue outrageous sentences to appease the state church.

Lesley Stahl: What exact law did they break? You know, some people say all they did was sing a song. They didn’t even sing it. They lip-synced it.

Sergei Markov: On this issue, that’s right. It’s the problem with– to find the law. Finally, the court found the law.

What they found was the charge of “hooliganism motivated by religious hate” because the girls were disrespectful to the church and Markov says if they had not been given a substantial sentence believers would have rioted.

Lesley Stahl: Did the authorities intervene and say, “Give them a harsh penalty, much harsher than they deserve because of a fear of violence?”

Sergei Markov: Absolutely.

Lesley Stahl: But is that right? Do you think that’s right to stretch the law?

Sergei Markov: It’s duty of authorities to stop the violence.

Lesley Stahl: But there hadn’t been any violence. You’re predicting–

Sergei Markov: No, no. It’s a very clear prediction.

Amazingly, all of the members of Pussy Riot remain steadfast and all wouldn’t change a thing. Leading change is not a part-time gig and it is not something one merely gives up because the repercussions may be uncomfortable. They are even planning a comeback, understanding the Russian government may not take kindly to future protests, either.

And some will yak on the internet and tell you punk is dead.  That yak never met Pussy Riot.

Preview image via FreePussyRiot.org

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