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Pussy Riot Members Arrested, and Release a New Song, ‘Track About Good Cop’

The participants in the world cup protest have been arrested and refused counsel since Monday.

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After making headlines for their protest at the world cup, Pussy Riot is currently continuing the fight to free their members from jail. Veronika Nikulshina, Olga Kuracheva, Olga Pakhtusova, and Petya Verzilov, as identified by the BBC, are the participants in the “Policemen enter the game” demonstration that has been ordered by Moscow’s Khamovnichesky court to 15 days of “administrative arrest.” They have been charged with “violation of spectators rights” and the illegal donning of law enforcement uniforms. They are also banned from sports events for the next three years. The group was denied a lawyer upon arrest and detainment and is still being denied the assistance of counsel.

Upon the detainment and arrest of their members, Pussy Riot also released a new single to follow up their protest, called “Track About Good Cop.” The video (which contains photosensitive triggers for conditions like epilepsy) displays a utopia with police dancing to euro-pop and electro-punk inspired beats and describes a world where they are not working for the Russian government, but for the citizens and people. This follows up their protest from the World Cup, which in tribute to Dmitri Prigov, demonstrates the need for a “heavenly cop” that is an agent for the people.

The song’s sugary beats are a nostalgic throwback to the 90’s, having similar sound profiles to Cascada’s hit “Everytime We Touch” and Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” and perfectly re-create that 90’s club atmosphere. However, because they’re Pussy Riot, the lyrics are as hard hitting as some of the beat drops. They sing, “Affairs with power are not beautiful/ There’s plenty of buzz in life without pulling your badge out/ Your affairs with power are careless/ It will betray you/ You will go to Siberia/ She will go to eternity.” Despite the saccharine sweet sound and mostly utopic lyrics, there are valid pleas in the track asking the police to stop operating under the harsh principles of Putin’s administration. Pussy Riot is calling the police to action with hope for solidarity against the human rights violations – they sing, “Me and the cop/ We’ve turned from enemies into a duo.” The video also came with an updated list of demands, which are:

1. Free Pussy Riot members Olga Pahtusova, Olga Kuracheva, Nika Nikulshina, Peter Verzilov, who are jailed for 15 days for their “Policeman Enters The Game” action during the World Cup.

2. Free Oleg Sentsov and other political prisoners.

3. Don’t put people in jail for likes and reposts.

4. Stop mass arrests at political rallies.

5. Stop fucking with Navalny.

6. Stop imprisoning so many people for 228 article of Criminal code (drug offenses).

7. Cancel 282 article of Russian Criminal code (“extremism”, one of the main political criminal articles)

8. Freedom of speech and expression in Russia.

9. Give a federal TV-channel to an activist media outlet “Mediazona” (zona.media)

Following ‘Track About Good Cop”s Tuesday release, the European Court of Human Rights also came out with a statement that condemned Russia for it’s violent treatment of the Pussy Riot members due to their protest in 2012, called a “punk prayer.” In this demonstration, Pussy Riot members were staged outside of Moscow’s main Orthodox cathedral in protest of Putin.  The women were kept in a glass dock during their hearings; this along with intense security prevented the members from being able to communicate privately with their lawyers. Any communication, because of the glass dock structures, would have been heard by the rest of the courtroom.  The members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova spent nearly two years in prison.

From the Daily Mail: “The three members of punk-rock band Pussy Riot sit in a glass-walled cage in the court room before the beginning of the hearing at the Moscow City Court.”

According to Reuters, the court said Russia had “violated the convention’s prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment.” In 2017, and previously, it was rumored that Russia was ready to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. Upon claiming the multiple injustices faced by Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, the court ordered Russia to pay €48,760 in damages and judicial expenses for the case.

Pussy Riot’s demands for basic human rights, including freedom of speech, and their consistent anti-Kremlin activism, is being heard with the group’s current #freepussyriot hashtag on Twitter.

Ai Weiwei, a political activist and artist, commended the group for their “Policemen enter the game” demonstration and notes that “the message is clear: release all the prisoners, political prisoners, all around the world.”

 

 

 

 

 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Emily Harrington is a senior at University of Central Florida who is double majoring in English Literature and Humanities and Cultural Studies. Emily is also an avid activist and she works as an ally with multiple Florida-based groups. Her main mission with her writing is to negotiate her place between street activism and the ivory tower to foster critical thinking and conversation.

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