Pussy Riot savage Putin in video showed in Sochi

A protester,   left of the Pussy Riot punk group, disrupts their press conference as group members look on, yesterday in Sochi. Picture: AP Photo/David Goldman

Russian punk group Pussy Riot showed a new video, filmed in the centre of Winter Olympics host Sochi, savaging President Putin over the hosting of the Games and the rights climate in Russia.

The video, titled “Putin will teach you how to love the motherland,” is the first music project by Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina since they were released from prison colonies last year.

The pair have been in Sochi along with other Pussy Riot supporters all week. They were detained by police on Tuesday and beaten in scuffles on Wednesday which saw them roughly handled and whipped by Cossacks.

They presented the video in public for the first time on a laptop in a district of Sochi, surrounded by reporters but also pro-Kremlin activists who tried to drown them out.

“From the moment we entered this city we have been constantly detained by the security forces,” said Tolokonnikova. “According to the logic of the authorities, we should spend the maximum amount of time in this city locked up so we got absolutely nothing done.”

The video opens with the Pussy Riot members clad in their trademark coloured balaclavas, tights and dresses swimming in the sea off Sochi. They are then seen singing and dancing in front of the Olympic rings in the centre of Sochi and taunting a giant Olympic mascot, a furry snow leopard.

The video also shows Wednesday’s footage of the women being beaten with whips and roughly handled in scuffles with Cossacks, who perform the role of vigilantes in southern Russia.

The Russian-language and highly colloquial lyrics slam the human rights situation in Russia, referencing the activists who are still jailed over a Moscow anti-Putin protest in 2012 and the jailed Sochi environmental campaigner, Yevgeny Vitishko.

“They will teach you in the prison camps how to cry and how to obey/Salute to the bosses, and hi, il Duce,” the song goes. “The constitution is lynched, Vitishko’s in prison/Stability, prison gruel, the fence and the watchtower.

“Putin will teach you how to love the motherland.”

The song also refers to the heavy security in Sochi (“the Olympics are under surveillance”), as well as the pressure on pro-opposition TV channel Dozhd (Rain).

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were sent to penal colonies on a two-year hooliganism sentence for performing an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral in 2012. However, they were freed on amnesty last December.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the images of the beating of Pussy Riot were unsettling, but reaffirmed that the Games “should not be used as a platform for demonstrations”.


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