Friday, March 9, 2012

Pussy Riot desecrates Putin in a church

How will the newly empowered Putin handle civil unrest? We're getting a taste of it after Putin's re-election on March 4th. Two members of an all-girl punk band Pussy Riot have been jailed and may face stiff prison sentences for a prank-like performance inside Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral last month.

Five members of the group filmed themselves dancing in front of the cathedral altar, playing electric guitars and singing a hymn-like punk song, “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, drive Putin out!”
Pussy Riot band member dancing in front of the altar.
Rocking up the church.
"Negative," was how Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov described Putin’s reaction to the scandal in an interview with Dozhd internet television channel. “Honestly speaking, as far as what happened in the cathedral, there's no other way than ‘disgusting’ to describe it, with all the consequences that implies,” he said.
Sign reads: "Freedom for
While the girls managed to escape the cathedral of Christ the Saviour without being arrested, several members of the band were detained during the weekend, though all but two were released pending trial. The remaining two are possibly facing a stiff jail sentence. A number of bloggers have signed an internet petition asking for leniency for the two, other petitioners are bringing the issue to light by holding up signs in front of various government buildings.

The amusing thing is the reaction of the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church: "Even the Bolsheviks, in their time didn't allow themselves such sacrilege, which occurred during the punk-prayer," says Vladimir Legoyda. According to him the difference is that "the godless soviets at least ushered people from the church before attempting to destroy, or defile it", while the girls for Pussy Riot carried out their "protest" right in front of the congregation. What is really curious about this position, which implicitly sides with Putin in its harsh criticism of the protest is the language used by the relatively young (38-year old) Legoyda. The soviets did in fact remove people from the church before destroying it, quite literally.
Explosive demolition of Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Moscow, 1931.
In 1931, almost a decade and a half after the November revolution, the Soviets decided to blow up the ancient church. The current church is a (cheap) reconstruction build in 1990's that already needs restoration to make up for the hasty construction of this replica. 

How short the memories are, even by people like Legoyda, who should know better and be more careful with their words. There is a saying: "The struggle of freedom against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetfulness." That also applies to Putin's nature. We already know what to expect from him - Putin is going to put an end to this Pussy Riot in Russia.


  1. I'm sorry, but the church brings this upon itself when it becomes political. Did they learn nothing from the revolution? They should expect more of this if they keep it up. The church is the church, not a political organization( or so I thought).

  2. The church was initially dragged into an incident, but now it is wading into politics willfully - that's precisely my thinking. The current power in Kremlin is more nationalist than communist, which allowed it to cozy up to the church. Putin, the former KGB colonel has been photographed attending church - but I always find it ridiculous! Engagement is a two-way street, and in this instance the church is reciprocating the government's involvement. It's action is allows it to curry political favor and is provocative. Despite my dislike of the church's choice, it's probably a prudent move. It's prudent for religious leaders to be in cahoots with the government. Another sad fact is that Putin is still rather popular in Russia - more popular than Obama is in America, for example. I don't see the churches becoming a battleground in a political arena though - it's too easy for the government to jail them in defense of the church's sensitivities.