Three alleged members of the anonymous feminist punk band Pussy Riot were detained in Moscow on March 4, 2012, charged with hooliganism after this peaceful performance protest at a Russian Orthodox Church. The reasons behind the action are outlined by the group in an official statement. The women face up to seven years in jail if convicted and remain in custody to this day after having an appeal against their pretrial incarceration dismissed.
The draconian treatment of the alleged Pussy Riot members is part of an orchestrated campaign by Russian authorities to suppress forces oppositional to president Vladimir Putin. It also occurs in a wider context of increasing conservatism that, among other things, seeks to force gay Russian men and women back into the closet.
If there is one silver lining to be found in the treatment of Pussy Riot it is the widespread and high profile support their predicament has received from human rights activists, feminists, musicians and artists such as Kathleen Hanna – who like many others has organised a benefit to raise funds for Pussy Riot’s legal defense fund.
When the writer’s group I founded in 2004, Pretty Ugly, called it a day recently we unanimously decided to donate a portion of our left over funds to Pussy Riot’s defense. If it is within your means, please consider making a contribution of your own. The circumstances confronting Pussy Riot expose the fallacy of a “free and democratic Russia” and they need your support.
Donate here: http://freepussyriot.org