Russian Band Pussy Riot’s Song ‘RAGE’ Asks for Release of Political Prisoners

Russian punk rock band and activists Pussy Riot released a music video for their song RAGE on YouTube on February 1st, 2021, calling for the release of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The video was released amid ongoing protests that were sparked by the jailing of Navalny, along with Pussy Riot founding member Masha Alekhina, and other protesters who participated in the protests.

According to reports on NME, Masha was one among 3,000 protesters who were detained. They were among thousands who turned up for the protest against Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 23rd. On January 28th, Pussy Riot posted about how Masha was booked under Article 236.1 of the Criminal Code for “violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules”, which could result in up to 2 years in jail, for participating and posting about the anti-Putin protests. 

In a report in Rolling Stone, the band caused a stir when shooting this video for RAGE last February, with 200+ feminists, LGBTQ+ and anti-authoritarian activists supporting them. This led to the police raiding the studio where they were filming, and cutting off electricity and heat supply in the entire building. They were accused of gay propaganda and member Nadya Tolokonnikova was detained along with 12 other activists for many hours. In 2021, they ran a campaign side by side, encouraging people on social media to post 10-second clips, or a photo of their artwork for RAGE, available for download using certain hashtags in their support. 

Pussy Riot’s Twitter account posts updates about the condition of protesters every now and then. Here’s one such video from February 10th, 2021, explicitly showing the sanitation facilities provided to women who were detained in the protests. 

Their 2012 protest performance called ‘Mother of God, Drive Putin Away’ at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow protesting Putin’s re-election, led to the formation of a new law in Russia in 2013, giving imprisonment to people who insult the beliefs of religious people. A simple statement like God Doesn’t Exist to a big enough audience could be considered a criminal offense, and takes away from their freedom of speech.

Theirs was the first case to be booked under this law, following the arrest of Russian YouTuber Ruslan Sokolovsky for insulting sentiments of religious people, for a video playing Pokemon Go in a church in 2016. Here’s much of what you need to know about Pussy Riot’s activism until 2019, and the bizarre meets they’ve begun to protest the Putin government while being pro-feminists and supporting the LGBTQ+ community of Russia.

 

 

Stay tuned for more music, culture and activism-related news from across the world!

Check out our piece on India’s poets and activists – Swadesi: Hip-hop and Activism.

 

Cover image of Pussy Riot by Igor Mukhin

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A singer, rapper and musician from Mumbai, India and host at Ticket Fairy (India), I've worked in the music business for over 7 years now, specialising in music marketing, public relations, social media, event management, hospitality and stage management.

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