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Pussy Riot RU

BUDIŠ STAGE Friday 01:00 Show in program
Pussy Riot

Pohoda 2018 will feature the founding member of Pussy Riot, the Russian journalist, activist, and artist Marija Alyokhinova. The Hannah Arendt and The LennonOno Grant for Peace Award holder will introduce her musical and theatrical project “Riot Days by Pussy Riot Theatre” that is based on her latest book Riot Days. You can see the performance about Russian dissent, abuse of power, inhuman conditions in local prisons and work camps, and about hope at the beginning of July at the Trenčín Airport.

“We are proud to have the members of Pussy Riot at Pohoda, they definitely belong here. Their uncompromisingness and human consistency is admirable. In terms of their artistic and civilian radicality, they remind me of the story of The Plastic People of the Universe. Many found their work, too, inappropriate (or too expressive), and, similarly, the band was criticized for vulgarity and anti-social attitudes. Pussy Riot, too, have been willing to bear the consequences of their actions, they were imprisoned due to the expression of liberty in their art, and they did not break. It is incomprehensible that, despite our Czechoslovak experience, theories of Western agents and anti-social agents appear again, analogically to the case of PPU. Therefore we appreciate that besides the concert itself, we can look forward to the debate about the role of free art and its relation with politics”, says Michal Kaščák. 

Pussy Riot have long criticized the Kremlin for corruption, abuse of power as well as aggression against other countries (annexation of the Crimea). In 2012, they entered the Moscow Saviour Cathedral of Christ, and played a “prayer” against the Russian President.  The protest in the temple was attended by eight people, symbolizing the eight persons protesting in the Red Square against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by troops of the Warsaw Pact. Marija, together with Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samucevic, was sentenced to 2 years in prison for disturbance motivated by religious intolerance. In fact, Pussy Riot's activities are motivated by resistance to the abuse of power by President Vladimir Putin's authoritarian regime (the lyrics said: “Mother God, evict Putin”).

After being released, Marija and Nadezhdaa founded the Zona Prava organization that defends the human rights of Russian prisoners. They both were attacked and detained by the police during the Sochi Olympics. In October of the same year, Marija was attacked by strangers in a fast food in Nizhny Novgorod. In August last year, she and Nadezhda were arrested for protesting against the imprisonment of Ukrainian film-maker and activist Oleh Sencova. Both of them performed in the House of Cards series, where they portrayed themselves – activists criticizing the fictitious character of the Russian president.  In her latest case, Marija was sentenced to 40 hours of public works for her protesting in front of the FSB (Russian Federal Security Service) headquarters to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the Bolshevik Secret Service (ČEKA, later KGB). Pussy Riot's activities and “experience” with the state power were recorded by Marija in the book “Riot Days”. It is about abuse of power, corruption, inhuman treatment in Russian prisons, and how to find strength in moments of total helplessness. The central motif of her struggle oscillates around the idea that “Stepping back by a thumb means giving up a mile”. The Guardian wrote in an article about Riot Days: “In the face of the lies and suppressions of Putin’s Russia, truth and honesty are precious concepts, and ones that Marija defends in her life and in her book. The book describes the events chronologically. Marija explains: “I need to remember things in exact order. I need order. In a world where words are often used in the opposite meaning. In a world where Pussy Riot—and not Putin—are said to be those who are responsible for the continuing disorder”. 

The book is the basis of the most recent project of Marija Alyokhinova called “Riot Days by Pussy Riot Theatre”. The show depicts their most famous protest actions at the Red Square (Putin Got Scared) and in the cathedral (Punk Prayer), escape from the police, detention, Moscow prison, investigation, trial, and life in a penal colony. The performance features also Kyril Kanstansinau (her partner from the successful performance of the Belarusian free theatre “The Burning Door”) and the psycho-punk duo AWOTT (Asian Women On The Telephone) – Nastia and Maxim. It is directed by the famous theatre director Yuri Muravitsky (holder of the Russian National Theatrical Prize “Golden Mask”). You can watch this extraordinary musical and theatrical performance live at Pohoda 2018.