[artinfo] Solzenistzyn, Gulag and the split of Pussy Riot

czegledy czegledy at interlog.com
Fri Feb 7 11:24:20 CET 2014

>Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2014 00:13:19 -0500
>From: Boryana Rossa <bori999 at gmail.com>
>Subject: [faces-l] Solzenistzyn, Gulag and the split of Pussy Riot
>Hi all,
>Just wanted to direct your attention to the recent statement of Pussy Riot
>who split from Nadezda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alehina - the two girls who
>are now in NYC celebrated as Pussy Riot. I think this is a real feminist
>statement, actually embodying lots of my concerns I shared in discussion in
>this list in 2011, and which some of you considered unjust and annoying.
>Quoting Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and  is not feminist, hanging out with
>Mikhail Khodorkovsky and using the "Gulag" stereotype is not left-wing, it
>is right wing, so please next time pay a bit more attention to what local
>people not CNN or Madona or even Yoko Ono thinks about Eastern European
>politics and political figures (Zizek, who I still respect, is a careerist
>and womanizer:)
>Finally, just want to remind you that Yekaterina Samutsevic, who was
>released from prison, but is held in Russia, under the court sentence never
>got an amnesty. She is not able to leave the country and also NOBODY talks
>about her at all. But her statement in the court
>http://nplusonemag.com/pussy-riot-closing-statementswas the most feminist,
>the strongest political statement and the only right one:
>So here is the Pussy Riot letter in English:
>The following letter by anonymous members of Pussy Riot was circulated this
>morning, by email and via the collective's livejournal, shortly after
>recently imprisoned Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda
>Tolokonnikova performed at an Amnesty International benefit concert at
>Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Referring to their two former
>colleagues, the authors write, "We are no longer Nadia and Masha. They are
>no longer Pussy Riot." Their letter is presented in full, unedited, below.
>Pussy Riot will contribute a piece to Creative Time Reports shortly.
>To read Pussy Riot's open letter in Russian, click
>Dear friends and our supporters!
>In view of the current situation at the moment, we consider it our duty to
>inform you our position:
>We, the anonymous members of Pussy Riot, would like to say many thanks to
>all the people who have supported us all this time, those who demanded the
>release of our members, those who sympathized with us and sympathized with
>our ideology. We are very grateful to all of you, we deeply appreciate and
>respect everyone who has contributed to the overall Pussy Riot campaign at
>this difficult for us time.
>Our joint efforts were not in vain: Putin had to bend under the pressure of
>the international community and let Nadia and Masha free.
>Thus, December 23rd was a real celebration for us - the Liberation Day of
>prisoners of conscience and the real victory of the liberation of the
>entire Pussy Riot.
>But the amnesty is certainly not the end of our dreams. We demand real
>justice: the complete abolition of the verdict and the recognition of the
>entire criminal case against Pussy Riot, illegitimate.
>We do hope that the justice will be restored on February 21 - the
>anniversary of our teasing performance in the Christ the Savior Cathedral,
>with the song "Mother of God, put Putin away!"
>We are very pleased with Masha's and Nadia's release. We are proud of their
>resistance against harsh trials that fell to their lot, and their
>determination by all means to continue the struggle that they had started
>during their stay in the colonies.
>Unfortunately for us, they are being so carried away with the problems in
>Russian prisons, that they completely forgot about the aspirations and
>ideals of our group - feminism, separatist resistance, fight against
>authoritarianism and personality cult, all of which, as a matter of fact,
>was the cause for their unjust punishment.
>Now it is no secret that Masha and Nadia are no longer members of the
>group, and they will no longer take part in radical actionism. Now they are
>engaged in a new project. Now they are institutionalised advocates of
>prisoners' rights.
>And as you know, such advocacy is hardly compatible with radical political
>statements and provocative works of art, that raise controversial topics in
>modern society. Just as gender-conformity is not compatible with radical
>Institutionalised advocacy can hardly afford the critique of fundamental
>norms and rules that underline the very mechanics of modern patriarchal
>society. Being an institutional part of this society, such advocacy, can
>hardly go beyond the rules set forth by this society.
>Yes, we lost two friends, two ideological fellow member, but the world has
>acquired two brave, interesting, controversial human rights defenders -
>fighters for the rights of the Russian prisoners.
>Unfortunately, we can not congratulate them with this in person, because
>they refuse to have any contact with us. But we appreciate their choice and
>sincerely wish them well in their new career.
>At the moment, we are witnessing an outrageous collision:
>While Nadia Masha are being the focus of media and the international
>community, they gather crowds of journalists and people heed to their every
>word, so far no one hears them.
>In almost every interview they repeat what they left the group, that they
>are no longer Pussy Riot, that they act in their own names, that they will
>no longer engage in radical art activities. However, the headlines are
>still full of the group's name, all their public appearances are declared
>as performances of Pussy Riot, and their personal withdrawal from Pussy
>Riot is treated as termination of the entire collective, thus ignoring the
>fact that at the pulpit and solea of Christ the Savior Church, there were
>not two, but five women in balaclavas and the Red Square performance had
>eight participants.
>The apotheosis of this misunderstanding was the public announcement by
>Amnesty International of Masha's and Nadia's speech at a concert in
>Barclays Center in New York, as the first legal performance of Pussy Riot.
>Moreover, instead of the names of Nadia and Masha, the poster of the event
>showed a man in a balaclava with electric guitar, under the name of Pussy
>Riot, while the organizers smartly called for people to buy expensive
>All this is an extreme contradiction to the very principles of Pussy Riot
>We are all-female separatist collective - no man can represent us either on
>a poster or in reality.
>We belong to leftist anti-capitalist ideology - we charge no fees for
>viewing our art-work, all our videos are distributed freely on the web, the
>spectators to our performances are always spontaneous passers by, and we
>never sell tickets to our "shows."
>Our performances are always 'illegal,' staged only in unpredictable
>locations and public places not designed for traditional entertainment. The
>distribution of our clips is always through free and unrestricted media
>We are anonymous, because we act against any personality cult, against
>hierarchies implied by appearance, age and other visible social attributes.
>We cover our heads, because we oppose the very idea of using female face as
>a trademark for promoting any sort of goods or services.
>The mixing of the rebel feminist punk image with the image of
>institutionalised defenders of prisoners' rights, is harmful for us as
>collective, as well as it is harmful for the new role that Nadia and Masha
>have taken on.
>Hear them finally!
>Since it happened that Nadia and Masha chose not to be with us, please,
>respect their choice. Remember, we are no longer Nadia and Masha. They are
>no longer Pussy Riot.
>The campaign "Free Pussy Riot" is over. We, as art collective, have an
>ethical right to preserve our art practice, our name and our visual
>identity, distinct from other organisations.
>Anonymous members of Pussy Riot:
>Garadja, Fara, Shaiba, Cat, Seraphima and Schumacher
>Boryana Rossa

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