Pussy Riot is a Russian punk-rock band of 7 female members. On February 21, 2012, Pussy Riot performed a punk-rock song in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior. During their performance, they were stopped by Russian Church officials. The song that the Russian punk band performed is titled “Punk Prayer- Mother of God, chase Putin away.” The song was addressed to the Virgin Mary, asking her to chase Putin away from the chair and state. Three of the members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and, Yekaterina Samutsevich were arrested a few months after the performance. On August, 2012, they were sentenced to two year imprisonment for hooliganism, forcing the other members of the band to leave Russia out of fear of being arrested and imprisoned. Pussy Riot is both a political movement and an artistic performance, whose aim is to stand up against the repression which is being directed towards basic human rights, such as the right for free speech. Pussy Riot has declared that Russia is being: “dominated by evil men.”

The husband of Nadezhda received the “LennonOno Grant for Peace” award from Yoko Ono, who is a big supporter of Pussy Riot. Yoko Ono said that she thanks Pussy Riot for: “standing firmly in their belief of freedom of expression and making all women of the world proud to be women.” Not only Yoko Ono, but also Aung San Suu Kyi supports Pussy Riot: “There is nothing wrong with singing…I would like the whole group the be released as soon as possible.” On the other hand, Putin, regarding Pussy Riot, stated:  “I am not getting involved in anyway.”  

While you have many Russian citizens claiming that Pussy Riot is just trying to get fame, and Putin not wanting to get “involved,” there are supporters of peace like Ono and Suu Kyi who believe that this is a very important feminist and human rights movement. Do you support Pussy Riot and do you think that they should be released? Is art a good medium to reach the masses and to raise awareness about repression?

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