Home »  Blog »   »  Pussy Riot Trial: Closing Statement

Pussy Riot Trial: Closing Statement

Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock collective that stages politically provocative impromptu performances in Moscow on Russia's current political life.

In March 2012, during an improvised and unauthorized concert in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, three women from the band [Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Ekaterina Samoutsevitch] were arrested and charged with 'hooliganism' and their trial began in late July. The band members have gained sympathy both within Russia and internationally due to allegations of harsh treatment while in custody and a risk of a possible seven-year jail sentence, and have also been criticized in Russia for offending the feelings of religious people.

Text of the Closing Statement at the Pussy Riot Trial by Yekaterina Samutsevich:

During the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent or express regret for her deeds, or to enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary. Instead, I want to express my views about the causes of what has happened with us.

The fact that Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be used openly as a flashy setting for the politics of the security services, which are the main source of power [in Russia].

Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetics? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, national corporations, or his menacing police system, or his own obedient judiciary system. It may be that the tough, failed policies of Putin’s government, the incident with the submarine Kursk, the bombings of civilians in broad daylight, and other unpleasant moments in his political career forced him to ponder the fact that it was high time to resign; otherwise, the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more convincing, transcendental guarantees of his long tenure at the helm. It was here that the need arose to make use of the aesthetics of the Orthodox religion, historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia, where power came not from earthly manifestations such as democratic elections and civil society, but from God Himself.

How did he succeed in doing this? After all, we still have a secular state, and shouldn’t any intersection of the religious and political spheres be dealt with severely by our vigilant and critically minded society? Here, apparently, the authorities took advantage of a certain deficit of Orthodox aesthetics in Soviet times, when the Orthodox religion had the aura of a lost history, of something crushed and damaged by the Soviet totalitarian regime, and was thus an opposition culture. The authorities decided to appropriate this historical effect of loss and present their new political project to restore Russia’s lost spiritual values, a project which has little to do with a genuine concern for preservation of Russian Orthodoxy’s history and culture.

It was also fairly logical that the Russian Orthodox Church, which has long had a mystical connection with power, emerged as this project’s principal executor in the media. Moreover, it was also agreed that the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike the Soviet era, when the church opposed, above all, the crudeness of the authorities towards history itself, should also confront all baleful manifestations of contemporary mass culture, with its concept of diversity and tolerance.

Implementing this thoroughly interesting political project has required considerable quantities of professional lighting and video equipment, air time on national TV channels for hours-long live broadcasts, and numerous background shoots for morally and ethically edifying news stories, where in fact the Patriarch’s well-constructed speeches would be pronounced, helping the faithful make the right political choice during the election campaign, a difficult time for Putin. Moreover, all shooting has to take place continuously; the necessary images must sink into the memory and be constantly updated, to create the impression of something natural, constant and compulsory.

Our sudden musical appearance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with the song “Mother of God, Drive Putin Out” violated the integrity of this media image, generated and maintained by the authorities for so long, and revealed its falsity. In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to combine the visual image of Orthodox culture and protest culture, suggesting to smart people that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch and Putin, that it might also take the side of civic rebellion and protest in Russia.

Perhaps such an unpleasant large-scale effect from our media intrusion into the cathedral was a surprise to the authorities themselves. First they tried to present our performance as the prank of heartless militant atheists. But they made a huge blunder, since by this time we were already known as an anti-Putin feminist punk band that carried out their media raids on the country’s major political symbols.

In the end, considering all the irreversible political and symbolic losses caused by our innocent creativity, the authorities decided to protect the public from us and our nonconformist thinking. Thus ended our complicated punk adventure in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Putin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community. That is all. Thank you.

***

Text courtesy: http://chtodelat.wordpress.com

SHORT TAKES
25 Sep 2012, 10:42:29 PM | Buzz

GQ has managed a Jailhouse Interview with the jailed Pussy Riots members:

GQ: A Moscow newspaper has printed a vicious article about how you're getting "VIP treatment" in prison, with massages and manicures.

Nadya: Did Auschwitz have VIP death lounges? If yes, then I suppose you can call our conditions VIP treatment...

GQ: Your closing statements in court, where you cite everyone from the Bible to Dostoyevsky to Socrates to Solzhenitsyn, have become instant classics. Some lines, like Katya's "We have already won" or Nadya's "People can sense the truth. Truth has an ontological superiority over lies" are now as famous as your songs. How did you manage to write these speeches with no access to any research? Were you at least able to coordinate them?

Nadya: Our trial, as you know, was designed to be as short as possible. The judge scheduled back-to-back court sessions from ten in the morning to ten at night. Then it took a couple of hours more to get us back to the cells. There, I would eat an orange, drink some milk, and start working on my speech by night-light. To get closer to the dim lamp, I would sit on an upside-down wash basin, right under the hooks where our clothes hang. After twelve hours at the courthouse and two transfers, I wasn't in the best of states. But it doesn't take that much effort to put truth on paper. Even if your head is splitting from exhaustion, it feels kind of nice to just let go and be sincere, to have an open soul. You can even allow yourself to be a kind of idiot, like Dostoyevsky's Count Myshkin.

...

GQ: This is perhaps an insensitive question, but what's more useful for the progressive movement in Russia right now: Pussy Riot at large or Pussy Riot in jail?

Nadya: We will know the answer only after the next wave of protests. I would love to see that, even imprisoned, we can still be useful and inspiring. In any case, I'm happy I got two years. For every person with a functioning brain, this verdict is so dumb and cruel that it removes any lingering illusions about Putin's system. It's a verdict on the system.

Masha: At large, of course. That's why the authorities don't want to let us out. But we still have things to say, and we still want to say them. And even locked up, we're not doing too bad of a job.

"We couldn't even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us. Sure, they tried to intimidate us constantly. But unlike Putin, we're not chickenshit."

Read more at GQ: Pussy Riot: The Jailhouse Interview

 

Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
  • PHOTO
  • NEWS
  • BLOGS
  • LATEST


Online Casino Betway Banner
Advertisement

OUTLOOK TOPICS :

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

or just type initial letters