Political activism in Russia: a cultural context for 'Pussy Riot’ Dr. Ivan Gololobov and Tatyana Baskakova, chaired by Julian Gallant

Language: In English

In the last few months the world’s media was focused on the trial of three members of the feminist punk-band Pussy Riot; these women were arrested and charged with hooliganism for their performance of ‘Punk-Prayer’ which took place inside the Church of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on the 21st of February 2012. This discussion at Pushkin House looks in depth into the cultural context of Pussy Riot’s activity. Dr. Ivan Gololobov has conducted extensive research of the punk community in Russia only to find that its members largely support the views of the Russian Orthodox church. Artist Tatiana Baskakova expresses the views of the Russian artistic community, which generally supports the action by Pussty Riot. Ivan Gololobov and Tatiana Baskakova will offer short presentations after which the discussion will be open to the public.{{image::tl_files/images/events/2012/October events/800px-Pussy_Riot_by_Igor_Mukhin.jpeg?mode=crop?rel=}}

Presentation 1 ‘There are no atheists in trenches under fire’ : Orthodox Christianity and Russian punk Ivan Gololobov

Musicians all over the world from Madonna, Paul McCartney and Peter Gabriel, to Bjork, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Faith No More expressed their clear disagreement with the proposed sentence and showed their support for the arrested girls. Russian musicians, however, expressed surprisingly little interest to this affair. The silence of pop and rock stars, whose careers depend on good relations with the authorities, is understandable; the absence of vocal response from underground musicians looks strange. The presentation sets the phenomenon of Pussy Riot in the context of Russian punk and its religious motifs. It shows different approaches and interpretation of faith in Russian underground music which explain controversial attitudes of Russian punk towards the ‘punk prayer’.

Presentation 2. Pussy Riot: a feminist protest Tatiana Baskakova, artist, MA candidate, Goldsmith’s College of London

Tatiana Baskakova will look at the underlying feminism in Pussy Riot’s performances. Feminism is somewhat disregarded by the Russian public but it is key to the Western perspective on these actions. Alluding to the movement of Russian women in 1917 and later, Tatiana will show how attitudes against equality for women are manifested though the trial. In addition, the trial further binds the Orthodox Church to the Russian state. Pussy Riot can be seen as critics and allies of the post-feminist cultural landscape in Russia today.

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