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RUSSIAN FEMINIST PROTEST GROUP, PUSSY RIOT, AND THEIR REBELLION THROUGH MUSIC

Russian girl group, Pussy Riot, has made it their mission to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin and his policies concerning feminism and LGBTQ+ rights through guerrilla performances in public places, which are then filmed as music videos and posted on the Internet. Many of these performances resulted in members of the group being arrested and others having to flee the country for their safety. 

The group’s most recent public performance occurred in 2018 when they interrupted the World Cup final in Moscow by running onto the field wearing fake police uniforms. A statement issued from Pussy Riot listed the aims of their protest, which was a request to free all political prisoners, stop illegal arrests at public rallies, allow political competition in the country, and stop fabricating criminal cases.

In light of their actions to combat political injustices on September 29th, Pussy Riot dropped an NFT on SuperRare which reflects on women’s power and political freedoms. “Virgin Mary, Please Become A Feminist,” which features Pussy Riot’s hand-drawn artwork across a digitized copy of Nadya Tolokonnikova actual 2012 prison sentencing documents. The drop is accompanied by a companion collection of 333 unique hand-drawings. The companion pieces will be minted at pussyriot.love for .1312 ETH each. Inspired by their shared love for rebellion, plants, cows, and psychedelics are several collaborations with Trippy. Proceeds from the project support victims of domestic violence in Russia, currently incarcerated political prisoners, and Pussy Riot’s own ongoing activism and art.

Though their provocative performances have caused quite a stir in the eyes of the Russian government, the translation of these protests within their music videos has been a massive resource for rebellion in this group. Recently, the group has been on fire with releasing new tracks such as “Panic Attack,” “Purge The Poison,” “Stop Making Stop People Famous, “Weather Strike,” and numerous notable collaborations including “My Agenda,” with The Untitled Magazine cover star Dorian Electra, and “Mondays.”

Here are some of Pussy Riots most notable songs, the response it acquired from political figures, and what political actions the group demanded to be taken from the music.

2012: “A Punk Prayer- Mother of God, Drive Putin Away”

With lyrics that translated into “Birth-giver of God, drive away Putin!” members claimed that the song was aimed at the Orthodox Church leader’s support for Putin during his election campaign. Their music video featured live footage from their protest on the soleas of a church in Moscow, resulting in three members being jailed for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” 

2015: “I Can’t Breathe.” 

The song title stands for the last words that Eric Garner said as New York City Police held him to the ground in a chokehold. In their music video for this song, band members wear Russian riot police uniforms and are slowly buried alive. They wear these specific uniforms because they were previously worn by Russian police during clashes between police and protesters for change and to make the statement that “illegal violence not only kills the oppressed but slowly kills the oppressors.” 

2016: “Make America Great Again.”

Following the group’s release of “Straight Outta Vagina,” a slam at the vulgar comments made by Donald Trump about women, Pussy Riot released “Make America Great Again” a week before the 2016 presidential election.

With this song making its way to the top of the Spotify charts, the bravery of member Nadya Tolokonnikova made this song what it is. In the video, Tolokonnikova’s character is tortured and ultimately murdered by a Trump-controlled U.S. police force. The message is, “Don’t take your liberties for granted because they can be stripped away in an instant.” 

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