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Pussy Riot Crashes Olympics With New Song


Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (right) and Maria Alyokhina (center), and a masked Pussy Riot activist are pictured during a news conference held outside a hotel in a park in Sochi on February 20.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (right) and Maria Alyokhina (center), and a masked Pussy Riot activist are pictured during a news conference held outside a hotel in a park in Sochi on February 20.

Pussy Riot has crashed Putin's games, shouting out in a new video shot in Sochi that punks are not dead in Russia.

"Putin Will Teach You How to Love the Motherland" opens with scenes of waves quietly lapping up on the shores of the Black Sea resort town, host of the Winter Olympics. But the tranquility ends quickly when the performance art group orchestrates a beach landing to use the Russia's $50 billion showpiece as a platform for protest.



The video is Pussy Riot's first to feature Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina since the two were released from prison in late December. President Vladimir Putin himself granted the amnesty, in what was widely seen as an attempted act of forgiveness for the 2012 anti-Putin protest that landed them in prison in the first place.

The video makes clear that Pussy Riot has no intention of packing up its multicolored balaclavas and biting lyrics. Members of the group don their trademark outfits and attack Putin on human rights, media suppression, judicial and constitutional failures, and his use of police force to maintain order.

The video also vividly shows the bloody consequences -- with members of the group absorbing blows from the horse whips and batons of Cossack militia and police providing security in Sochi.

The Olympic Games are a direct target of the song's lyrics, with references to two controversial torchbearers who participated in the opening ceremonies -- former Olympians Irina Rodnina, who has come under fire for a racist tweet about U.S. President Barack Obama, and Alina Kabayeva, long rumored to be Putin's lover.

"A two-assed toilet," a lyrical reference to a viral image from Sochi of two barrier-free toilets standing next to each other, mocks the billions Putin spent on the Winter Games in an effort to impress the world.

"For TV Rain they've shut down the airwaves," refers to the Kremlin's effort to silence new media like the private Dozhd TV.

"Vitishko's in prison" highlights the cause of Yevgeny Vitishko, an activist who was given a three-year prison term for using spray paint to highlight the environmental damage caused by Sochi construction projects.

"Prison for May 6" refers to the "Bolotnaya" case, which centered on the arrest of participants involved in May 6, 2012, anti-Kremlin protests.

And "Spring to Russia comes suddenly.... Hello to the messiah as a shot from Avrora," links one of the icons of the October Revolution -- the cruiser "Avrora," whose shot signaled the assault on the Winter Palace in 1917 -- to, well, you be the judge.

Here are the lyrics, as translated on the Pussy Riot YouTube link:

50 billion and a gay-driven rainbow,
Rodnina and Kabaeva will pass you those flames
In prison they will teach you how to obey
Salut to all bosses, hail, duce!

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

Sochi is blocked - Olympic surveillance
Special forces, weapons, crowds of cops
FSB is an argument, the police is an argument State tv will run your applause.

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

Spring to Russia comes suddenly
Hello to the messiah as a shot from Avrora
The prosecutor will put you down
Give him some reaction and not those pretty eyes

A cage for the protests, vodka, matrioshka
Prison for May 6, more vodka and caviar
The Constitution is lynched, Vitishko's in prison
Stability, the prison meal, the fence and the watchtower

For TV Rain they've shut down the airwaves
They took gay pride down the washroom
A two-ass toilet - a priority
Sentence to Russia, medium security, 6 years

Putin will teach you how to love the motherland

The motherland
The motherland
The motherland


-- Michael Scollon

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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