International Relations Online instructor invited Pussy Riot to
News from Apr 14, 2015
With provocative performance and lyrics, Pussy Riot is an all-female, feminist and anti-
Putin punk band who believes performance is not separable from activism. In 2012,
during their performance of their famous video “Punk Prayer” at Moscow’s Cathedral of
Christ the Savior protesting against the Church’s support of Putin in the last election,
they were arrested and jailed for two years.
Masha and Nadya said the band wanted to inspire musicians to be politically active in
their performance. Explaining another famous video of the band “I Can’t Breathe”, they
said: “[The video] speaks to our emotions ... the feeling of wanting to talk and scream
and change something but you do not know what to do, as if you do not have enough
air.” They also pay tribute to Eric Garner, whose last words were “I can’t breathe” before
his death while being arrested by New York City police in the video. The band believes
that human right abuses by the policed should be watched and monitored.
Acknowledging that the messages of their videos are often subjective, they stressed:
“We like when people take issues and give them their own meaning.” They also choose
to never censor themselves. “If we personally feel there is an issue we can’t be silent
about, we have to act no matter the consequences ... only thing you can do is speak out
loud, as loud as you can about the things that should be changed,” they said.