This blog has been quiet for a long time due to lack of time, but we are going to make it up to you. Today I saw a new video of the female Russian punk band Pussy Riot. Wow, what a difference with the anarchist-low-budget clips of the beginning. No more colored balaclavas, no more shouting, no more crappy guitars and bad camerawork. Their newest video ‘Chaika’ is well produced, directed by Andrey Fenochka and Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova. The music is super mellow, hip hop-like, made by the American musician and producer Dave Sitek. The cause for the clip is the documentary of the Russian political activist Alexei Navalny. He unraveled the ties between Russia’s prosecutor general, Yuri Chaika, and the country’s mafia (source: The Rolling Stone)
The last time Sir Elton performed in Russia was in December 2010, see poster here on the right. His forthcoming concert in December this year could become a problem. Since the anti-gay law the people seems to be getting more intolerant towards homosexuals. A committee of parents in the Ural region sent an open letter to Putin to complain about the concert: ‘The singer intends to come out in support of local sodomites and break the current Russian law, directed at protecting children.’ (Daily Mail) According to the Guardian the superstar will perform in Russia despite such complaints. Earlier this month he told the Guardian that he feels an obligation to perform in Russia. “As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them.” (The Guardian)
In an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, Elton John stated last Monday that he wants to support the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community and that he will try to solve this in a diplomatic way.
“On one hand, I want to say, ‘I’m not going and you can go to hell, you guys.’ But that’s not helping anyone who’s gay or transgendered over there. I’ve been going to Russia since 1979. I’ve been going quite frequently, and I’ve always had a wonderful rapport with the Russian audiences and with the Russian people. And you know there are a lot of great Russian people out there who are outraged by what’s going on, but they don’t have — I don’t want to abandon them. Now, I’ll probably get criticized for going, and I can understand that. It’s just that I, as a gay man and a gay musician, cannot stay at home and not support these people who have been to lots of my concerts in the past. I’m aware of the situation and I will be diplomatic. I’m not going to go into Russia and tell [Vladimir Putin] to go to hell and things like that. That’s not the way things are done. You chip away at something, and you hope there will be dialogue and that the situation can get better. You don’t just go in there with guns blazing and say, ‘Well, to hell with you.’ Because they’re going to say, ‘To hell with you, and get out of the country.’ That’s not going to solve anything. But if I can go there, maybe I can talk to some people in the administration.
“You can make a statement and you can read it from the stage, but it would be nice, and it would be much more fulfilling to try and meet with people in Moscow and say, ‘Listen, this is just, you know, this is silly. It’s a reactionary knee-jerk thing. It’s harming your reputation in the rest of the world. It’s not doing you any good. There has to be some discussion here. What you’re doing is outrageous.’ [Pauses.] They can tell me to go to hell. I’ve gotta do it diplomatically, but I’m going to say what I think and what I feel.”
Two members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot are serving a two years sentence, but it doesn’t stop the band to keep on criticizing Putin. On the contrary, they just released a new video “Like a red prison” with the Russian Oil Industry as a new target. In the video they dance on an oil pipe and throw oil at a picture of Igor Sechin, chairman of state oil giant Rosneft. Putin is compared to an Iranian ayatollah and the Roman Catholic church to the United Arab Emirates.
Dimitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, is certainly not a fan of Pussy Riot but he wants the punk band to be freed, saying further time in prison would be “unproductive.” He believes that suspended sentences would have been sufficient for the women and added that the “hysteria” that had accompanied the coverage of their case – which has made headlines around the world – had left him sickened (BBC News).
Three members of the band are sentenced to two years in prison. The case comes up for appeal on 1 October. As we can see in the video below, the other members of Pussy Riot won’t give up the fight.
Three members of the Russian female punk group Pussy Riot – see also an earlier post on News and Noise – are on trial on hooliganism charges. For transparency, the court will broadcast the hearing on the 30th of July live on the internet (Times Live). At a closed hearing a motion is approved by state prosecutors to keep the girls in pretrial detention until Jan. 12, 2013. This is more than nine months after they were arrested (The Moscow Times). Experts, artists and musicians are openly showing their support for the band members.
On March 4 the presidential elections will be held in Russia. Current prime minister, Vladimir Putin, who was elected in 2000 and 2008, is the main candidate. Since December last year after the parliamentary elections – according to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) there was a widespread fraud in favor of the ruling party – thousands of demonstrators protested against the results of the polls and lots of them want to get rid of Putin. Putin has never experienced popular protests like these before. There seem to be no freedom of speech and opposition protesters aren’t very welcome – even if they’re 5cm high and made of plastic. This doesn’t stop people from making songs and video-clips to do some serious (and funny) Putin-bashing. Here are a few examples.