Pussy Riot versus Darth Vader

The feminist punk collective has released a new song and video ahead of an appeal hearing for jailed member Maria Alyokhina on 24 July.

Having previously attacked close ties between the church and the Putin regime in Punk Prayer, the group has now turned their rage on Russia’s oil industry. The song singles out head of state oil company Rosneft Igor Sechin for criticism. Sechin, like Putin a former KGB man, is known as “Darth Vader” and “the scariest man on earth” in Russian media.

The song also contains the line “Cut off your penis like the Depardieu character”, a reference to La Dernière femme, an obscure 1976 film in which the French actor Gerard Depardieu’s character castrates himself.

Depardieu became a Russian citizen in January of this year, in protest against France’s high taxes. In May, he reportedly described Vladimir Putin as a friend and compared him to Pope John Paul II, telling Komsomolskaya Pravda: “I will say what I think about Putin: the Russian nation needs a person just like this – with a Russian temper. Putin is trying to return just a bit of dignity back to the people.” “For me, he is like (former French president) Francois Mitterrand or Pope John Paul II. I never said this to journalists before, but this is what I think.”

The song also denounces sexism and homophobia, a reference to recent anti-gay laws passed in Russia. In an interview with Index on Censorship last month, Pussy Riot told Index that “The society Putin proposes is a very macho, male-dominated society”. They continued: “We are now in a fight. When the world is less sexist, when we have achieved our goals, then we will celebrate.”

Padraig Reidy, Index on Censorship

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