Russian Feminist Punk Band will Finally Go to Court after Five Months in Prison

Pussy Riot

Three young Russian women accused of being members of Pussy Riot, a feminist punk band known for their staged protest against then presidential-candidate Vladimir Putin in February, will finally be getting their day in court.

These women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, have been in prison for over five months now awaiting their court appearance, the proceedings of which are believed to set the tone of how the current Russian government will treat dissenters.

In February, five members of the band descended upon the alter of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow. These band members then danced, wielded guitars and prayed before being thrown out security.

Just a short time after the incident, a video was posted on YouTube of their exploits, set to a song called “Holy Crap”. The song features all the punk sound that you would expect, but also includes sections of church choir singing interspersed amongst the lyrics asking the Virgin Mary to deliver Russia from Putin and heaping criticism upon the leader of the church, Patriarch Kirill, for supporting Putin’s presidential campaign.

This was not the first time the band had been in the spotlight for such tactics. They had already staged an anti-Putin performance in the middle of Red Square and one of the band members, who would only identify herself as “Schumacher”, stated that they were ready for something more radical.

Unfortunately for the band, it appears as though the Russian government were at the ready as well. Not long after the cathedral performance, the three women were arrested and charged with “hooliganism” motivated by hatred of the church. If found guilty, these women could face up to seven years in prison.

There have been many pleas of mercy for the women and protestors have gathered outside the court to lend their support. Maria Lipman, an editor and analyst from the Carnegie Center in Moscow, believes that the prosecution will try to end the trial quickly, before support for the women gains momentum and draws more attention and criticism.

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