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Madonna’s support of the Pussy Riot three is to be welcomed

C J Schuler
149948295 1 300x280 Madonnas support of the Pussy Riot three is to be welcomed

Madonna commented during her concert in Moscow that she prayed for the freedom of the three members of the Pussy Riot. (Getty Images)

Last night my wife asked me what I thought of Madonna’s support for the three members of the band Pussy Riot, and her goading of the French Front National leader Marine le Pen last month, when she showed a video of the far-right politician with a swastika superimposed on her face.

At a Moscow gig last week, the singer came on stage wearing the feminist punk band’s trademark balaclava, before removing her blouse to reveal the words “Pussy Riot” on her back and telling her audience, “I pray for their freedom”.

Dimitry Rogozin, one of Russia’s deputy prime ministers, charmingly demonstrated the regime’s nuanced grasp of sexual politics by tweeting “With age, every former slut tries to lecture everyone on morality. Either take off the cross or put on pants.”

Madonna is a canny surfer of the zeitgeist, and I don’t find it hard to believe that she is prepared to invoke these issues to lend a radical cutting edge to her performance. I can also believe that she’s sincere – the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Whatever her motives, the intervention was welcome to the band, who face a three-year prison sentence for the Soviet-era “crime” of hooliganism after performing an anti Putin song in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. As we know from Soviet times, the greatest threat to dissidents is silence.

Since taking over the reins of power from Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin has sought to reverse the chaotic and bewildering liberalisation of the 1990s and replicate China’s successful brand of authoritarian capitalism. Has brought the oil and gas industry, and almost all the media, back under state control, expelling  foreign NGOs, including the British Council, and imprisoning opponents such as Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Having travelled in Russia in recent years, I can testify that, for all its conspicuous consumption, internet startups and traffic congestion, it does not bear the hallmarks of a free society. Those who dared criticise the regime did so with the greatest caution, requesting that I did not reveal their identities.

What also became apparent, however, was that there is still, among a large swath of the Russian population, a hankering for strong leadership. People still place flowers on Stalin’s grave in the Kremlin Wall, and proposals to remove the remaining statues of Lenin – and there are still many outside the centres of Moscow and St Petersburg – meet with fierce opposition.

And, hard to credit though this may be in the West, there are many who regard Putin as too liberal, a Western stooge only marginally less compliant than Yeltsin, expressing admiration for the authoritarian ruler of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukaschenka, instead. Imbued with a mystical vision of “Holy Mother Russia”, they are part of an anti-Western, anti-liberal and anti-modern backlash strongly reminiscent of the ideology of Islamic jihadists  – whom they loath with a vengeance, of course, such is the narcissism of small differences.

By posing as defenders of the sanctity of the Orthodox Church, the regime and its tame judiciary clearly hope to capitalise on this groundswell of opinion at a time when its support is faltering.

You can read Yekaterina Samutsevich’s courageous closing statement at the band’s trial here.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1770117320 Alex Rider

    No doubt at al all that Madonna is sincere and authentic.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aarondarc Aaron Darc

    I’ve been a Madonna fan for years, and her politics and sentiment have been wonderful for a while now – it’s just that most people live in a mainstream media fiction about her (penned by the patriarchal boys’ club of journalism) and really have no idea. And although I don’t personally need the education, she has politicised a lot of her every day fans who would have no idea about Le Penne and Pussy Riot and these things, if it were not for her putting them in the Madonna spotlight. She rocks.

  • slavix

    Western msm, politicians and pop starts are falling over themselves praising and protecting the degenerate hooligans of Pussy Riot. This is no accident. I suggest you read this article on west’s obsession with Pussy Riot.

    Western media concealing facts about female punk band’s desecration of Russian cathedral #PussyRiot http://bit.ly/Pc9fcJ

  • Skaramouche

    Mutton dressed as lamb spots passing bandwagon.


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