Everything you ever wanted to know about Pussy Riot but were afraid to ask

Feminist punk rockers on trial for challenging Putin and Russia's Orthodox Church

By Nicholas Nehamas

Pyotr Pavlensky, a Russian artist, sewed his mouth shut in support of the jailed punk rockers “Pussy Riot.” (Reuters)

A band with the best name in music history is on trial because of its opposition to Russia’s authoritarian government.

“Pussy Riot” became an international cause célèbre after three of the band’s members were arrested several months ago. Since then, big names like Sting, Franz Ferdinand and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have spoken out in the band’s favor.

The feminist punk rockers broke into Moscow’s Christ Savior Cathedral in February, guitars in hand, and played an impromptu set that infuriated church and state authorities, at one point beseeching the Virgin Mary to drive Putin out of Russia.

On Monday, the band apologized for offending Orthodox Russians, but pleaded not guilty to charges of hooliganism in a Moscow court. They could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Now, Latitude News has collected seven of the best Pussy Riot stories for your reading pleasure:

  •  A St. Petersburg artist has sewn his own mouth shut in protest of the band’s arrest. (Russia Today)
  • Is Putin subjecting Pussy Riot to a Stalin-esque “show trial?” (Deutsche Welle)
  • A columnist argues Pussy Riot’s big mistake was not challenging Putin; instead, she says Pussy Riot erred when it crossed the resurgent Orthodox Church. (The Independent)
  • An influential Russian Orthodox priest claims God is judging the punk rockers for their sins. He added that Russia must eliminate its secular state and that the West funds political opposition to Putin. (The Guardian)
  • The rock ’n’ roll community is coming together behind the Pussy Riot girls. So far, Sting, Madonna, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Peter Gabriel and others have pledged their support to the beleaguered band. Just don’t expect them to cancel their gigs in Russia. (Businessweek)
  • Far from quieting Pussy Riot, Putin’s clampdown has given the outspoken feminists a global stage for their message. (Radio Free Europe)
  • Lawyers for the band say police are torturing their clients through food and sleep deprivation and forging evidence against them. (Russia Today)