Pussy Riot are a group based in Moscow, Russia that began in 2011. During this time in Russia, current president Vladimir Putin was appointed into office. In 2012, Vladimir Putin entered office and reinforced a highly oppressive and close minded country. Not just through government but in society too. Russia lacks basic human rights such as freedom of expression; opposition and artistic freedom can not exist. Russia is a country where it is prohibited to have a political opposition, either in parliament or on the street. There is a variety of negative and deadly consequences if one opposes against the government. Citizens are obligated to follow rules and refrain from speaking against injustices and oppression. Russian government and society is very sexist and oppressive of minorities. There is no separation between church and state and the cathedral symbolizes the union between these two. This plays a huge factor on Russians mentality in society. How they view women and the LGBT community is a reflection on the foundation their government and society was built upon. Citizens of Russia are close minded and scared after the soviet collapse, which makes them fearful of new ideas. They want a president who is strong and will tackle an issue that threatens the community. This is why many Russians are supportive of Vladimir Putin, because they are afraid of change and revolution so they refrain from rebellion and rebellious act, so that they can be a strong and united country. Putin promotes an excessive amount of nationalism and Russians see this as a great way to stand united. They follow Putin and his corrupt regime because they are frightened and have painful memories of the Soviet Union. Russians support Putin's authoritarian government because of fear. Fear is one of the basis their community was built upon, but ironically, fear is one of the forms that their government uses to keep society in tact and many Russians don't notice this. We see this through history all over society, during World War II, when the Germans listened to Hitler and the lies he told his country about the Jews. Fear in society led to the killing of millions of Jew in Germany. Fear is a constant factor in society and that’s why many citizens of countries follow corrupt governments, because they are afraid and when power comes into the hands of the wrong person, especially during a time of fear, society will listen to these leaders. Putin and his government is a reflection of that. He promises to protect them in any form but his form of protection is through fear, death, and lies. Ironically what Russians are afraid of, Putin uses to keep a “civilized” society, which is why Russians are supportive of Putin’s corrupt system. Putin reinforces old ideas of how society should be maintained, he uses patriarchy as one of the main forms of government, as women are seen as less in society. As children women are told that they are there to give birth, and this ideal persists throughout their lifetime. The expectations women have in society are ridiculous. They are far more criticized than men about their actions. They are treated poorly and seen as just housewives in society. Russians hold a grasp of old ideas on how women should be treated. Women are not seen as strong independent woman, and looked down upon by society. This was one of the main issues Pussy Riot fought for. To take away these old ideas of women in society, and to help them realize that women are strong. Another community targeted in society is the LGBT community, and this also connects back to the ideals their society is built upon. Women's and LGBT rights, are something different and this scares many Russians so they oppose it in society. This leaves room for discrimination among these communities of people. They are constantly targeted and oppressed by society. This is another key issue Pussy Riot fought against, they wanted to make a change for women and the LGBT community. It’s also hard for them to speak upon these issues when Russia lacks freedom of expression. Meaning artistically they do not have rights to speak on issues in society. This was another of Pussy Riot’s focus, they focused on gaining freedom of expression. Since their government and society is built upon fear, freedom of expression or opposition against government is a threat. Anyone who is a threat in society is seen as traitor who is betraying the government. But Russians do not realize that this is not betrayal, this is a way of standing up for Russians rights. Unfortunately many Russians lack to see this because of fear and fear is a huge factor on the ideology of Russians and their community. Ironically, Putin uses fear against people who oppose the government and denies them freedom of expression. Many activists and politicians in Russia who spoke upon issues in Russia have been silenced through prison and death. Putin is famous for poisoning, killing, and imprisoning Russians who speak against the government. This is his form of silencing anyone he feels is a threat to his regime. Many brave activists have died because of Putin. Pussy Riot were thrown into prison because of speaking up. Activists in Russia are brave for opposing government because they risk their life to be able to make a change for society.
Vital Role of Pussy Riot
In a place like Russia, it is highly difficult to break out of a mentality such as the one many Russians are grown into. To be a critical thinker about the issues around you and your system in Russia can be extremely difficult. Not just because of the societal pressures and expectations, but because opposition towards government in Russia can come with severe consequences. Before Pussy Riot, many brave activists who have spoken out about the injustices and oppression, have been silenced through incarceration and death. People are silenced for fighting for what they believe is right. In a patriarchy like Russia’s, women are mistreated and is even harder for them to speak out about issues in society. Pussy Riot are highly important role models because they were able to break out of the mentality they were born into and ignite change. They sparked and guided the way for many Russians to speak up and make a change. They are true catalysts for change that continue to galvanize the Pussy Riot Movement.