Punk rockers perform anti-Putin protests

Print version
Aug. 8, 2012, 1:53 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

A masked protester gives the victory sign from the cherry picker Russian police officers arrived in to detain three men in balaclava's on the balcony of a building, who were shouting: "Freedom to Pussy Riot!" in support of members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot during their appearance in a court room in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012.
© AP

MOSCOW — Three feminist punk rockers in Russia may face years in prison for barging into Moscow's main cathedral to sing a song against Vladimir Putin as he set out to reclaim the presidency.

Wearing ski masks and miniskirts in garish colors, the Pussy Riot band members danced and high-kicked while belting out this refrain:

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away.

Put Putin away, put Putin away.

The case has caused international outrage and split Russian society. Some say the women deserve to be punished for desecrating the Russian Orthodox Church and offending believers, while others insist that the women — who have already been in jail for five months — are being unfairly punished for their political beliefs.

The three women, all in their 20s, said their goal was to express their resentment over the church's open support for Putin's rule.

Pussy Riot first gained notoriety during the height of this winter's anti-Putin protests, when a video of their performance on Red Square became an Internet hit. Standing on top of a stone platform once used for reading out the czar's decrees, the women sang a song called "Putin Got Scared."

The refrain goes like this:

Revolt in Russia — the charisma of protest

Revolt in Russia — Putin got scared

Revolt in Russia — We exist!

Revolt in Russia — Riot! Riot!

As the trial nears the end, prosecutors on Tuesday called for three-year prison sentences, which they said was lenient because the hooliganism charges they face carry a maximum sentence of seven years. They said they took into account that two of the women have young children and that they have good character references.

Putin has criticized the punk rockers, but said their punishment shouldn't be "too severe." Speaking during a visit to the London Olympics last week, Putin suggested that the women should be grateful they didn't try such a stunt in Russia's Caucasus, which is predominantly Muslim.

"If they had desecrated some Islamic holy site, we wouldn't even have had time to take them into custody," Putin said.

Putin's comments triggered speculation that the Kremlin was trying to find a way to resolve the case without appearing weak or further angering either side.

The case against the three women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich — wrapped up on Wednesday. The judge said she will issue a verdict next week, on Aug. 17.

The Kyiv Post is disabling its online comment section due to an increase in trolls, violent comments and other personal attacks. Other news organizations worldwide have taken similar steps for the same reasons. The Kyiv Post regrets having to take this action. The newspaper believes in a robust public debate, but the discussion must be constructive and intelligent. For the time being, the Kyiv Post will allow comments on its moderated Facebook group The newspaper will consider hosting online comments again when circumstances allow. Thank you from the Kyiv Post.


© 1995–2015 Public Media

Web links to Kyiv Post material are allowed provided that they contain a URL hyperlink to the material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. Otherwise, all materials contained on this site are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of Public Media at
All information of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency placed on this web site is designed for internal use only. Its reproduction or distribution in any form is prohibited without a written permission of Interfax-Ukraine.