CRIME AND PUSSY RIOT | Why Our Entirely Reasonable Support For Jailed Russian Punkettes Could Trigger World War III

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CRIME AND PUSSY RIOT | Why Our Entirely Reasonable Support For Jailed Russian Punkettes Could Trigger World War III

Good piece from Mark Ames on the violent reaction by Faith No More’s Russian fans against Pussy Riot at a gig in Moscow when the now world famous trio appeared on stage with the band.

Part of the hostility to Pussy Riot is that they’ve become a cause-célèbre in the West. Russians have not had a very good historical experience with things the West think Russia should do, going back a few centuries – the memory of America’s support for that drunken buffoon Yeltsin while he let the country and its people sink into misery is still raw – “a painful memory” like John Turturro’s character says in “Miller’s Crossing,” a memory woven tightly into the Russian RNA’s spool of historical grievances. And nothing triggers that reactionary Russian live-wire gene like an earful of Westerners moralizing about any topic, even the most obvious topic, even the topic where it’s 100% clear we’re on the right side for once.

So when they hear us finally paying attention again to Russia because a punk band with an English name using Latin script falls under the Kremlin’s gun, they don’t necessarily see “injustice” the way we do from our far-away vantage point – they see another dastardly plot by the West to humiliate Mother Russia and bring her to her knees.

Bill and his band are still the only Westerners who put something on the line for Pussy Riot – and the only ones who nearly paid for it. And yet in spite of the hostile reaction, and in spite of his support for Pussy Riot, and in spite of being weirded out by the whole thing, when Bill and I talked about the infuriating “Russian soul” over the phone, his reaction was the same as mine: “This is why I fucking love Russians.” You can’t take the maximalism and the authenticity only when it’s safe for you and not for others.

The Pussy Riot story was still fairly marginal when Faith No More brought them on stage for the encore in early July. Now everyone from Madonna, Bryan fucking Adams and Paul fucking-fucking McCartney is jumping aboard the “Free Pussy Riot” bandwagon. All of which is sure to trigger that ol’ Dostoevskian reactionary gene in Russians.

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com