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Amid Controversy, New Pussy Riot Video Targets Oil Industry

A still from the new clip by Pussy Riot titled "Oil Cycle" a copy of which was obtained by RFE/RL ahead of its release on July 16.
A still from the new clip by Pussy Riot titled "Oil Cycle" a copy of which was obtained by RFE/RL ahead of its release on July 16.
By RFE/RL's Russian Service
Amid an apparent split in the ranks, the feminist punk performance-art group Pussy Riot has released a new music video lashing out at the oil industry; Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s largest oil company, Rosneft; and others.

Copies of the video were released to RFE/RL on July 16 (see a translation of the lyrics below).

Titled "Like in a Red Prison," the video was shot at oil-production sites and at a Rosneft filling station in Russia.

The video starts with a masked member of the group pouring oil on a portrait of Sechin.

The "red prison" appears to refer to the Soviet Union.

WATCH: A copy of the new video provided by Pussy Riot to RFE/RL:
Pussy Riot Releases New Video (with English-language subtitles)i
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July 16, 2013
The Russian punk activist group Pussy Riot has released a new music video of a song expressing anger at the Russian government and the oil industry.


In an entry on the group’s blog site, Pussy Riot explains that Russia’s revenues from the oil industry in 2012 amounted to some 7 trillion rubles (some $210 billion) "but only [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and several of his friends see this 7 trillion."

The blog post continues, "We therefore decided to independently look into oil production and sing our new song about the red prison to oil and gas workers."

Not all members of the loosely formed collective, however, endorsed the new project.

Yekaterina Samutsevich, a Pussy Riot member, suggested on Twitter hours after the video's release that it was "a fake."

Meanwhile, Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of imprisoned Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova -- who reportedly contributed lyrics to the song -- was promoting the video on his Twitter feed throughout the day.

The song's lyrics talk about "homophobic vermin" and suggest Russia has a "president like the ayatollah in Iran."

Lyrics also refer to opposition figure and anticorruption blogger Aleksei Navalny, who last week applied to run for Moscow mayor. He may have those ambitions derailed due to a criminal case against him for allegedly embezzling some $510,000 in 2009. The charges were filed against Navalny after he became a vocal government critic.

Pussy Riot gained widespread publicity after members entered Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February 2012 and videotaped a performance of a "Punk Prayer" calling on the Virgin Mary to free Russia from Putin.

Three members, Samutsevich, Tolokonnikova, and Maria Alyokhina were convicted of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" and sentenced to two-year prison terms.

Samutsevich was released on probation in October 2012, but Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina remain incarcerated.

Pussy Riot's blog post about their new video says Tolokonnikova contributed to the lyrics for "In a Red Prison."

Pussy Riot also writes that by focusing on the oil industry, "we got to the essence of why our friends are in jail, and Putin’s friends are not."

The following is an RFE/RL translation of the song's lyrics:

Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

The country has hardly mastered
Mechanized labor.
More and more often when I'm working hard --
I am rude -- don’t know if it’s appropriate.

Local activists flow down the pipeline,
Filling it with life and calling for destruction!

The country has hardly mastered
Mechanized labor.

Federal Penitentiary Service, Interior Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, and Rosnano,
LUKoil, TNK, Rosneft, and Gazprom,

Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

Get registration,
Evildoers at the oil towers,
Oil on the tables,
Sechin with crocodiles,
Like in a red prison.

Bathe the worker in the Norwegian fjord,
Cut off your penis like the Depardieu character,
You have a president like Iran’s ayatollah,
And your church is like it is in the U.A.E.

Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

So, let everything be like it is in Qatar,
Evildoers at the oil towers,
Pumping till its dry,
A physics university teaches theology,
Epaulettes and oil wells,
Navalny in jail,
Hugo Chavez lives,
Like in a red prison.

Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

Evil ****ing sexist, leave the hole alone!
Homophobic vermin, out from history!
Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

Don’t **** with her pussycat,
She spends oil on something else. 
In the Mordovian days' quiet,
She makes salads and sometimes eats them.

Gruel-Propaganda, Gruel-Propagandaaaa!

This latest Pussy Riot song has been released hot on the heels of a video game that was launched at a recent Russian Orthodox youth festival in Moscow that encourages players to "kill" members of the feminist punk-rock collective. 


RFE/RL Russian Service correspondent Anastasia Kirilenko contributed to this story from Moscow

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