Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In Defense of Pussy Riot, and Some Notion of Free Speech

Today CounterPunch printed an ignorant defense of the pending imprisonment of Russian female punk band Pussy Riot by economic columnist Mike Whitney.  I choose the word "ignorant" carefully; Whitney seems genuinely uninformed about the decades-old Russian punk movement and the Russian social conditions they navigate.

Once upon a time the Left was in favor of free speech, feminism, and confrontational protest, and simultaneously suspicious of authoritarian predatory privatizers, misogynist clerics and prudish censors.  From the many articles and comments like Whitney's in the (putatively) left of center blogosphere, we learn that the American Left is now quite alright with misogynist religion, censorship, rigged trials and the like just as long as the oppressing government is a foreign policy foil of the United States.  This turns so-called progressives into just another group of intellectually dishonest bigots.

The first logically erroneous and morally indefensible position of the Pussy Riot-bashers is the notion that because Vladimir Putin sometimes has decent (and self-interested) foreign policy positions, it should not nor could not be possible to criticize him for any other reason.  Potable water is a resource of which our planet has shortages; wrongness unfortunately is in abundant renewable supply.  It's entirely possible to be critical of American foreign policy and Russian internal repression at the same time, and none of the champions of the Pussy Riot prosecution have even attempted to explain their impossible and ridiculous implication that the two are mutually exclusive.  It becomes intellectually dishonest on the part of Whitney and others not even to attempt to make any such case.

Putin and the very rich thugs who run Russia - the new 1% of that country - came to power in the climate of privatization pushed by American economic hatchet men such as the vile Larry Summers.  They have been stripping Russia of natural resources through former state-held utilities and other newly private companies and the economic growth this has spurred has been very poorly distributed, by design ending up in the pockets of well-connected oligarchs.  In the first ten years of an independent Russia, a small number of people became rich while the average life expectancy for a male dropped a shocking three years.  This led to the new sardonic Russian aphorism that "Everything they told us about communism was a lie and everything they told us about capitalism was true."

Just a few months ago Putin backed a harsh austerity regime titled Strategy 2020 for Russia's poor, indistinguishable in its detail from the sort being imposed in Greece, Spain or here in the United States.  Putin is raising the retirement pension age by five years for men and eight for women, which, given Russian life expectancy, will effectively rob many poor Russians of any retirement at all.  Putin is also shifting the burden of funding pension funds, which had been 100% the employer's responsibility, to workers themselves, now planning to get workers to fund up to 15% of those funds from their already meager salaries.

Strategy 2020 also calls for renegotiating the salaries of public workers downward, and for cutting social spending across the board.  While the Pussy Riot critics in the US like to paint Putin as the second coming of Fidel Castro, he is in fact more accurately compared to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Against this backdrop of unfettered crony capitalism, the Russian state has maintained a repressive attitude toward the right to speak and protest, most viciously launching repeated brutal police attacks upon gays and lesbians attempting to hold peaceful marches for basic civil rights.  These marches too have also upset the patriarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, a hypocritical church - if this is not a redundant phrase - which has managed to make peace with any human rights-denying power structure in the country for several decades somehow without noting any evident sin.

It was my understanding that the Left was fine with upsetting vicious old men who lie about a special relationship with God in order to oppress women.  Pussy Riot detractors have a responsibility to tell us how and why this has changed.  I don't believe they will because I don't believe they can.

The less said about the alleged popularity of Putin the better.  In 1984 Ronald Reagan scored a crushing victory over Walter Mondale among that portion of the population who bothered voting.  I have no recollection of the American Left at that time declaring that criticism of Reagan, his policies, or the religious charlatans who supported his administration therefore became inappropriate or somehow invalid.  We have regressed several decades, if not centuries, if it becomes necessary for anyone to defend the act of criticizing a politician who wins an electoral victory.

The United States badly needs an angry group of young women charging the altar at St. Patrick's Cathedral and denouncing the many crimes of Barack Obama.  Shame on us as a society for not yet producing the same.

Whitney and others commit lazy, craven and inaccurate libel against Pussy Riot and their millions of supporters within Russia with the claim that they are "useful idiots."  These critics place themselves in general agreement not only with elders of the church but with Russia's neo-Nazi skinhead movement, both of whom have denounced Pussy Riot for being misbehaved little girls.

Punk has been a major influence in Russian (and Soviet) counterculture since the early 1980s.  It is not as if these ladies have taken up something new nor something that's just landed in Moscow last week, courtesy of American intelligence.  This isn't NSC or CIA money; these people are real artists steeped in Russian counterculture and they want better lives for themselves and their fellow citizens.  The band members have been pulling stunts like this since their teens, their most infamous previous stunts include filming themselves kissing subway police and a media-invitation public orgy.

It would be refreshing if for once Americans, even and especially ones labelled progressives, could imagine that non-Americans have some agency in their own lives and societies.  It would be refreshing if not every action of non-Americans was assumed to be for the benefit of Americans.

I became aware of Russian punk in the late 1980s through issue #59 of the essential American hardcore punk zine MaximumRocknRoll, which focused upon the brave bands of the former Soviet Union, people who faced prison time and police beatings for their songs and haircuts.  By that time the controversial Yegor Letov and his band Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defense) were major figures and influences in underground arts and politics in Russia, and had been for several years.  I still have a cassette the band sent me for the princely sum of US$3 when writing to their listed address.

Whitney and others would do well to use the internet to delve into the 30 year indigenous history of Russian punk, not only Grazhdanskaya Oborona but classic bands such as Va-Bank and Naive, the latter having met by chance in the same Soviet tank corpsThrough old guard communism, perestroika and now the oligarchy, Russian bands have taken heroic stands against bigotry, censorship, and abuse of power.  The bravery and intelligence of these groups can not be overstated; Pussy Riot is their rightful heir.

There is one vital question the American cavalier Pussy Riot critic needs to answer.  If they are "useful idiots," what variety of idiot are you?

38 comments:

  1. "It seems that the repressed press just likes to say pussy. The repressed public well, they support Obama's war in Syria and the Rice, Clinton, Powers punk group." -Scott ffolliott

    ReplyDelete
  2. F*ck Putin...I didn't or couldn't believe Whitneys post...I mean sure the states, the west is after Putin cos' he talks trash to the west ... doesn't mean he's not an asshole in his own right and that Russians or anybody else can't have legitimate criticisms of life in the former soviet union...the 80's east block bands were very cool, lotsa different sounds...myself drummer 4 Canuck 80's hardcore band direct action... like yr blog very much....glad u posted to counterpunch or wouldn't have found it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Tex -

      We found a very shaky VCR tape video of your band on YouTube - I'll post that on the blog soon!

      Delete
  3. Mike Whitney seems to think he's a world-historic mind, somebody who knows a great deal about everything. You know what else is funny? He sees himself as a libertarian!

    I'm extremely suspicious of libertarianism, but what in the world is any libertarian doing cheerleading for Putin and endorsing the jailing of "blasphemers"?

    Thanks for your corrective!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Chris,
    Can you read English? Mike Whitney's piece was perfectly on target in terms of WHO is utilizing this band for IMPERIAL PROPAGANDISTIC purposes. His piece was all about the type of media coverage, the bias, and the fact the protest took place in a religious structure. 1)Whitney's piece retains all its validity even if "Pussy Riot" are in perfect good faith and there are no ties to the West 2) That there ARE INDEED NO TIES TO THE WEST is something you certainly haven't proven, except for those who need to think that Chris(t) is all-knowing, and has ins to all the Western agencies... 3)Your rather ill-tempered and biased response to Whitney nowhere deals with Western media coverage which as far as I have checked fits Whitney's description perfectly, whereas you don't even deal with it 4) the whole issue of provocation within someone else's institution (in this case religious) ia also something you nowhere deal with. I am not personally religious, but I also don't believe others have the right to pre-empt, destroy, etc. other people's associations or instituions, simply because they conflict with the first group's beliefs. This is indeed a preposterous quite frankly completely autho-totalitarian way to behave on an individual level, and the punk movement has been very prone to it. Protest is one thing, provocation and destruction of other's premises, institutions, etc. quite another. 5) It is people like you who make the "mainstream" think the "left" is ludicrous... Suggestion: read some Lenin on "Extremism..." etc. You might move on from Pre-K to something vaguely constructive...

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Can you read English?"

      Apparently between you, Anonymous Coward, and Bob G below it's Stupid Rhetorical Question Day and no one informed me.

      Вы можете читать русский язык?

      1) Whitney's piece has no validity.

      2) "That there ARE INDEED NO TIES TO THE WEST is something you certainly haven't proven"

      Learn to construct a fucking argument. This is your extraordinary claim and your responsibility to prove it. I can't prove a lack of connection between people. How do you propose doing so, Aristotle?

      You patronizing shits are claiming that women who've had the ten-ton ovaries to put a giant penis outside of FSB HQ in St Petersburg are only "useful idiots" of dumb shits in Washington DC. Well fuck you and the Tom Clancy novel you rode in on.

      3) This is HUGE story in Russian media too. In fact I know most of what I know about the case from watching RT news, the Russian government-backed channel which is free with our cable package here. Is the Russian media engaging in anti-Russian imperialism?

      4) Oh boo fucking hoo some women misbehaved in a church. Get over it. The desecration of the Russian Orthodox Church happened a very long time ago, when they sucked the czars' dicks for centuries and then teamed up with the KGB to rat out their own members:

      http://www.golos-ameriki.ru/content/a-33-2005-08-18-voa7/598944.html

      ... now cooperate in the subjugation of the Russian population on behalf of the new Russian oligarchy by the KGB thug-turned-mogul Putin.

      You are supporting the most regressive elements of someone else's society. When you start making the same arguments as Slavic nationalist skinheads it's time to back away from the keyboard.

      5) There's a very good chance that I was reading Lenin literally before you were born. Lenin would have had Putin and his exploiting buddies killed a long time ago.

      Delete
  5. Hey Chris--

    Did you even read Whitney's article? I got the sense that while you both mention Pussy Riot that's where the connection ends... "This isn’t about Pussy Riot and their run-in with the law, nor is about feminism or freedom of speech. It’s all political maneuvering to make Putin look bad. That’s all there is to it."

    And notice how he prefaced his 'blasphemer' remark with 'thought experiment' ..."So, let’s do a little thought-experiment and dig a little deeper into this matter. Let’s say an all-girl punk-rock band stormed into St Patrick’s Cathedral or a major Jewish synagogue in downtown Manhattan and commandeered the altar so they could execute a raucous and blasphemous performance that derides believers as well as Barack Obama. Do you think the media would be as supportive as they have with Pussy Riot? 


Of course not. The whole idea is absurd, right? So, what’s the difference here?"

    I doubt Whitney knows, or cares, about Russian punk rock, and if he does it's certainly not close to your passionate understanding of it. I'm not here to defend Mike Whitney, he can do that for himself. I just didn't see the connection you trying to make. I'm glad I found your blog, though, thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Did you even read Whitney's article?"

      No I didn't. I had an Edgar Cayce-like waking dream that someone named Mike Whitney had written an article about Pussy Riot, and that I should compose an opposing viewpoint and dispatch same to a website I'd never heard of called CounterPunch.

      "I doubt Whitney knows, or cares, about Russian punk rock..."

      He A) doesn't and he B) should if he's going to wade into the territory of assuming that the only way young Russians would pull a stunt like this would be if they were some sort of western plant or "useful idiots."

      ""This isn’t about Pussy Riot and their run-in with the law, nor is about feminism or freedom of speech..."

      That's exactly fucking wrong. Putin's prosecutor in the case stated - and this is a quote translated directly from the Russian - that "Feminism is a mortal sin."

      That's the bullshit you and Whitney are supporting. This is about freedom of speech and it is about feminism. That's why tens of millions of Russians are on Pussy Riot's side; it's their asses next.

      Three clever performances artists are facing multiple years in prison for singing a song in a church that has no problem supporting a 'mafiya' government. Anyone supportive of that is an asshole of the first order.

      Delete
    2. Isn't Whitney's thought experiment also exactly fucking wrong? As you've said, we need people crashing churches and telling the truth about Zerobama, and shame on us for not only not doing it, but posing as leftists while arguing that staging peaceful protests in churches is somehow a bad idea. Fuck churches and the fools who strike the various prehistoric phony-ass poses they fob off as "spirituality." You're perfectly free to pursue that outdated crap, but we might come visit you and call you names.

      Meanwhile, since when is how the U.S. corporate media would react any kind of respectable standard for comparison? Whitney stepped in it, and ought to retract his huge turd-drop.

      Delete
  6. Just a reminder that this is the kind of repressive right wing Christian bullshit that the Putin fans are supporting:

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/satanic-see-russian-christians-police-clash-with-gay-activists-after-their-attempt-to-hold-a-pride-parade/

    "Activists have long petitioned the Moscow government for permission to stage such a parade, but have always been denied. Former Mayor Yuri Luzhkov described gay parades as “satanic,” while current Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has said he disapproves of gay gatherings because they could offend the religious beliefs of many Russians."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Chris,
    First of all I am perfectly willing to be non-anonymous if you had that option under profile. You didn't post your e-mail at CP, so I can't interact otherwise. So put your e-mail on CP, and I will interact with you via my e-mail address. Now back to your inability to read English and think logically:
    1) Whitney nowhere defends Putin per se. He wrote a previous article on Putin and Russia in which he didn't either. He is talking about acting with a (small) degree of autonomy in a an extremely totalitarian set of imperial circumstances dictated by the US and Western Prokonsuls (cf. Syria, Lybia, etc. the coup in Paraguay, only to name the most recent examples in the last year).
    2) Discussing Western media coverage and propaganda which is clearly used to sling mud at and demonize Putin NOT because of "human rights" (when has the Western mass-media ever really cared about any of these freedoms: cf. Assange, Manning, etc..), but BECAUSE of his (relative) independence in the international arena and within BRIC, has NOTHING to do with whether the Putin regime is right-wing or not, economically regressive or not, etc. It is just simply a totally DIFFERENT argument with which you don't engage AT ALL...
    3)The way you hurl insults and advocate violence against all and sundry while still incapable of comprehending even the most elementary logical distinctions, speaks volumes about your maturity, your capacity to engage in any respectful dialogue, or have any respect for any democratic engagement or alleged 'human right' whatsoever. (And that's apart from the fact I am willing to bet you are the kind of wind-bag who just always so coincidentally hypes the lack of human rights in countries the Empire wants to pillage, vassalize, destroy, bring into the pimpish imperial fold, etc.
    4)Most of the behavior I have personally witnessed by punks in the UK and Germany reached high-points which were spitting at old women on the Tube, etc. Where is the 'human-rights' record of the punk-movement internationally??? It doesn't exist, except in the multi-colored puke and other liquids being drained down the cloaca maxima of your Pre-K imagination...
    5)You through about "big names" the way your hurl insults, always revealing your extreme degree of ignorance, brutality and childishness. No Lenin would not have simply had Putin etc. killed, though he obviously would have known whose class-interests they represent. You are thinking of Stalin, or some caricature of Stalinism your US/Empire 'education' taught you was 'communism'... To what degree Putis is pro-oligarchical or not Israel Shamir has answered on the pages of CP with infinitely more real knowledge than you
    6)You are so logically impaired, you don't even realize how your admission in a previous reply to my post that you mostly relied on RT totally undercuts your own "witch-hunting" case. If Putin and RT were really as horrible as you claim, you obviously would not rely on them as sources...
    7)Whether people ought to storm St. Patrick's or not, and how much that would really trouble Obama and the Empire's oligarchs could certainly be debated, but it has nothing to do with Whitney's argument. Actually it just betrays your moronic punk attitude that narcissistically exhibiting some vile temper and language in someone else's space for a couple of seconds, will somehow discomfort the institutional mechanism of FinanzKapital in the Empire... A ludicrous assumption for anyone with an education at even K level...
    Mark (cont.)

    ReplyDelete
  8. (from Mark, continued)
    8) You can bandy about big names from Aristotle to Lenin till you're blue in the face (actually you probably already are, thinking that that will lead to teh Revolution...), but it is quite obvious from your writing and thinking that you have never read Lenin on "Extremism.." and probably never read a word of his, but think that the 5 lines some tawdry IV R (yes, that's a term I use for the US these days, thinking of people like you, "Fourth Reich" by the way if you hadn't got it...) supermarket encyclopaedia dedicated to him..
    9)In your "shoot-to-kill" who disagrees or points out flaws in the argument, you demonstrate just how indistinguishable you are from all the other thugs in the IV R: rednecks, mercenaries, "soldiers", venture capitalists, etc...
    10) Yes RT is closer to the Russian govt. than to punks. It still manages to cover a lot of international news with less extreme levels of propaganda than most of the Western (especially IV R) media...
    Mark (for direct contact you know what to do)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lenin? The guy who embraced Taylorism and created the Cheka? Who worried about Stalin only after he had no hope of changing anything he himself had set up? Who cribbed his best book from J.A. Hobson?

      Talk about attachments that make the left look idiotic...Jesus!

      Delete
  9. Whitney is right on the money: "useful idiots."

    http://landdestroyer.blogspot.ca/2012/08/who-or-what-is-russias-pussy-riot.html

    Why am I not surpised to see that the NED has their hands all over the "Pussy" - pun definitely intended.

    While I certainly don't support laws which restrict freedom of speech, I too wonder why the west continues to harp on Russia when many Eastern/Western European countries have similar laws restricting free speech (there was just a recent case in Poland with a singer who insulted the church). Regardless of what Mr. Randolph says, if Putin was more accomodating to the western imperium, he would not be facing article after article in the western press on this "issue."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Again with this idiocy that because ONE of the THIRTEEN defense witnesses that Putin's kangaroo court didn't allow to speak is connected to American money, everyone in Russia who wants to speak their mind is on the Washington payroll.

      Fuck you and your patronizing bullshit. Your level of casual disrespect for the women facing prison and their years of brave dissent is sickening.

      Do you have ANY proof AT ALL that ANY of the 13 people the defense wanted to call had EVER had any contact with members of Pussy Riot before the trial? Do you imagine for example that all of the 'expert testimony' at the OJ Simpson trial was by people who personally knew OJ..?

      What about the OTHER TWELVE people who didn't get to speak at the trial, are they all "useful idiots" too?

      "While I certainly don't support laws which restrict freedom of speech.." That's where the sentence should end.

      The show trial is being run by the Putin government. If Putin weren't prosecuting women with multiple years of prison for singing a song in a church then the western media wouldn't have anything to use as a story, now, would they?

      According to former KGB staff, before Putin was head of the KGB he headed its section KGB-5, the section that had the mission of suppressing internal dissent in the USSR. This is what the man does for a living, and has done for decades. Pull your head out of your ass.

      Delete
  10. My email address is on this site and other people have managed to sign in with usernames.

    1) Of course Whitney is defending Putin (so in fact are you). The very nature of the claim that people like Pussy Riot would have no legitimate reason to protest his regime is a defense of same. Your side of the argument is less than honest about this.

    2) Once again, this is a major story in RUSSIAN media, government and otherwise. This is a major story all over Europe, and in other parts of the world. You'd have to make a case that ONLY American media is hyping the story to be making a point, and you're wrong.

    3) Any asshole who wants people locked up for 3-7 years for singing a song in a church deserves all the derision we can muster. If you had any violence concern you wouldn't be defending the KGB/NSF thug Putin and his government's physical attacks on people like gay pride marchers.

    4) Learn something about the last 30+ years of punk. If there's been a musical genre which has done more in the way of benefits and awareness raising of human rights groups and issues I can't think of it.

    5) "You through about "big names" the way your hurl insults, always revealing your extreme degree of ignorance, brutality and childishness."

    Again you have me confused with Putin and the Orthodox Church. Probably a good idea not to accuse other people of ignorance in the same sentence in which you confuse 'threw' and 'through.'

    What happened to the Romanovs?

    6) Non-idiots learn to watch certain media for certain stories. Al-Jazeera is good for stories about the Arab world unless they involve Qatar. RT is a good source of news critical of the US, not so much of Putin.

    Every Russian newspaper and TV station has made PR a big story. Don't pretend that isn't true.

    7) Whitney is the one who brought up St. Patrick's; that's his argument. Have you forgotten already?

    8-10 aren't worth my time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Every Russian newspaper and TV station has made PR a big story. Don't pretend that isn't true."

    And that's the think Whitney conveniently ignores. Virtually every Russian news site has followed the PR affair. Even conservative sites like Vzgliad are reporting on it. But I guess all that doesn't matter. It's the evil West against "kick ass" Putin.

    Thanks for rebutting such an awful article so we don't have to.

    For more on Putin's austerity plans, see my blog post from yesterday: http://bit.ly/Qm4qsA

    ReplyDelete
  12. You have a severe misunderstanding of who the alignment of political forces and their political economic interests on the street.

    It is the 'White Ribbon Protesters' - that are the ousted redtread neoliberals of the 90's - Nemstov, Yavlinksy, Ryzhkov, Frolov - and their their compratriots the Paris Hilton of Russia, the silver spoon 'golden child' Ksenyia Sobchack, the ethno-nationalist Navalny, the rabidly neoliberal oligarch Prokhorov etc.

    It is these people who were in the kleptocratic Yeltsin family government of the 90's - and they still hold to their dreams of mass privatizations and liberalizations of the state companies that Putin nationalized bringing money back into the state coffers that kept Russia alive.

    It is these people that are the fifth column of Russia, supported by the US government and who head off to the US embassy for their regular marching orders from color revolution specialist McFoul

    The White Ribbon Protests here were known as the 'Shubka' or Fur Coat revolution - because they represent the oligarchs and bourgeois against the people and government - with many of the protesters arriving decked in fur coats and stepping out of chauffered limos and BMW's.

    It is the opposition to Putin that represent neoliberalism and the interests of the 1% in Russia.

    The White Ribbonists were protesting FOR exactly what #OWS and the anti-austerity protesters in Europe were protesting AGAINST!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark -

      We have two oligarchic parties in the US. Because one party is for millionaires it doesn't mean that the other one isn't. The enemy of your enemy isn't necessarily your friend.

      By the way Putin was in the Yeltsin administration in the '90s; '96-'99 Putin worked for Yeltsin in Moscow. You yourself just described it as "kleptocratic."




      "It is the opposition to Putin that represent neoliberalism..."

      Some of them do and some of them don't. "Opposition" is a pretty broad term.

      No sane person puts Ksenyia Sobchack and Pussy Riot in the same general category because neither of them like Putin. Put in American terms this would be like saying that the Tea Party and the Green Party are pretty much the same thing because neither likes Obama.

      What we do know is that Putin's Strategy 2020 fully embraces neoliberalism:

      http://seansrussiablog.org/2012/08/09/russian-federal-law-83-fz-or-austerity-by-other-means/

      And we do know that Putin has gotten very, VERY rich from his own policies. He kicked a reporter for The Guardian out of Russia for daring to ask how much money he had and where it came from.

      Do you imagine that Putin can afford a fur and a BMW?

      Delete
  13. Below is a little more of the best hits of 'Pussy Riot' aka the radicalized, anarchist so-called 'Art Group' Voina (WAR) that the Western Press has been fawning over so much. You do not need to read Russian to understand the photos and videos. They are NOT a punk band. They have never released a single album, not a single song, or even played a single gig, not in a concert, club, or even a scungy punk dive...They are the latest stunt and branding of the anarchist group Voina to gain the sympathies of gullible and naive Westerners. But you should know what they are actually about...

    Previous acts of 'protest' of VOINA/Pussy RIot include a pregnant orgy in a biology museum, spraying cops with jars of their own urine, throwing molotov cocktails at police cars, arson, overturning police cars (with the cops inside), masturbating with a chicken carcass in a grocery store then leaving without paying for it still up her vagina, throwing live homeless cats up against the walls of a McDonalds, spray painting a giant penis on a bridge, rolling around naked in front of pre-school covered in cockroaches, etc. etc...
    'Freedom of speech' - does not extend to desecrating religious centers of worship, inciting religious hatred, or public sexual perversity in any country. What would the Westerners reactions be if such radicals broke into and desecrated St Paul’s, the Vatican, Mecca, or the holy sites of Buddhism, Shinto, Hinduism, or Native American Shamanism with their anti-religious and 'political protest', I wonder?

    The lyrics of the ‘song’ this newly branded ‘rock protest group’ sang upon their intrusion into the Jesus the Savior Cathedral (and another church several days earlier) violating the quiet religious practice and rituals of the believers – was not merely a ‘political protest’, the lyrics were also a clear and unambiguous hateful attack against the Church and meant to be offensive to the Orthodox faithful. This is not a ‘protest’ – this is a HATE CRIME. It is absurd to crime to claim that desecrating a church and spewing hate and profanities at believers inside that church is part of freedoms of speech or protest.

    When previous ‘protests’ were held in the street – as they have numerous time before, including illegally without a permit (required for such protests in the US and UK as well) in Red Square itself – nothing was done – they were not arrested, charged, or touched by the police. But to intrude upon the believers in their house of worship with their offensive attacks – crosses the line from protest to Hate Crime
    We have rights to religious freedom in Russia that guarantee that worshippers have the right to practice their religion in their own house of worship without fear of attack or persecution, or the violation and desecration of that house of worship. This is especially sensitive in Russia – where there is a very real recent history of persecution of religious belief by non-believers, including the dynamiting and destruction of the very same Church – Jesus the Savior Cathedral – where this intrusion took place, which has only recently been rebuilt.

    When anti-Semites have conducted similar attacks against Jewish believers in their Synagogues, they are rightly regarded as ‘Hate Crimes’ – does Russian Orthodoxy and it’s hundreds of millions of believers worldwide not deserve the same protections and considerations?
    Liberals seem to have the most amazing tolerance for intolerance and hatred towards the religious. It is rabid and radical secularism and liberalism run amok, and become a messianic, totalitarian, jihadistic, and fundamentalist (anti-) 'religion' all its own...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    2. A hate crime? ROFLMFAO.

      Who the hell are you, idiot?

      Delete
    3. Mark -

      I deleted your second comment (in which you called the Pussy Rioy protest a "hate crime") because the links you posted that you claimed were Voina protest photos in some cases didn't work (at least one 404 message) and in other cases didn't appear to have any content I expected.

      I worry that these were some form of virus-bearing sites.

      Of course as a proponent of censorship for the greater good I'm sure you won't object to the removal of your shorter comment for that reason.

      "oes Russian Orthodoxy and it’s hundreds of millions of believers worldwide not deserve the same protections and considerations?"

      In this case no they don't. The RO Church has been working with the NSF to help suppress Russian human rights. Pussy Riot / Voina picked the church as a target because of their *political* activity. These are also women who grew up in that religious tradition; they know who their targets are and why.

      If the church is going to weigh in on politics they have to wear big boy robes and take the criticism. After serving the czars, selling out dissidents to the KGB and now working with the NSF, what of the church is left to desecrate that they haven't done themselves?

      More on Voina:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voina

      I don't like the cats prank because the cats are innocent and don't deserve harm.

      Delete
    4. "They are NOT a punk band. They have never released a single album, not a single song, or even played a single gig, not in a concert, club, or even a scungy punk dive..."

      Do you have any idea how many punk bands never released an album?! Try Avengers for one, the absolutely classic San Francisco punk band - never got an album out. Screamers - never got an album out. Even Sex Pistols had to sign with multiple labels to get ONE album out.

      Pussy Riot HAVE released a song digitally, these days the cheapest way to go and the way most songs are released. There's a video with an obvious studio version of the song, a video and a translated lyric on this blog.

      They did play a gig - in a church. Then your buddy Putin locked them up, which makes it difficult to play again. Is your complaint that they haven't been playing gigs in jail..?

      If there has EVER been a punk band, it's Pussy Riot. They've set the bar very high.

      Delete
    5. This Mark is not a Russian - at least not by birth. This Mark is an American (real- ie not Western mambie-pambie liberast-Leftist) Leftist who lives in Moscow and has for six out of the last ten years. I am a Senior Lecturer and Researcher in International Relations at Moscow State University. You can reference me on FB or Google to verify my Leftist and anti-Imperialist 'street cred' if you feel such is necessary to give what I have to say at least a fair shake.

      1. As you well know - those links were mostly by the members of Pussy Riot/Voina bragging about their own crimes and perversities online. You deleted them not because of any 'spam concerns' but because they show who these little perverted radicalized liberast-anarchist whores really are. You know very well that the 'leader' of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is the same from the self-taped Voina orgies in a museum where she was nine months pregnant - and that her husband is the very open leader of Voina. And that of the seven known Pussy Riot members - five of them have brazenly self-documented in Voina criminal actions multiple times. 'Pussy Riot' is NOT a band, it is just the latest re-branding stunt of Voina, dreamed up and formed just over half a year ago to full gullible and naive Western 'useful idiots' to sympathize with them. And by all accounts, as evidenced from your blog and the galvanization of the entirety of the Western corporate MSM and Western governments and celebrties - it has been a hugely succesful act of memetic terrorism. Hat's off them, really...Far more succesful even than the 'Kony 2012' absurdity...

      If you are in the slightest bit objective - you will return those links to Voina/Pussy Riot's own posts - and allow your readers to judge for themselves who these people are and what they are about. Complete liberal nihilism and openly avowed anarchy.

      2. Yes - Putin was put into place by Yelstin and his Kleptocrat 'family' - and it was the worst mistake they ever made. The vast majority of the oligarchs ended up fleeing the country within the next two years to seek 'political asylum' bought with their ill-gotten lucre in London (Berezovsky et al), Israel, and the US. Their political puppets - Nemstov, Yavlinsky, Ryzhkov, Frolov, Kasyanov - are the old neoliberal guard, all receiving their operating salaries out of the US State Department, who are leading the dwindling bourgeois and hipster 'White Ribbon' Color Revolution attempt. The oligarchs who remained in the country where shacked to the state, forced to fund civil projects on need, and to 'sign the social contract whereby they were allowed to keep their wealth if only because to renationalize everything might have very well provoked a war with the West - but they must stay out of politics. Business would not be allowed to corrupt and own the political system as it has in 'money-is-free-speech, 'citizens united' America.

      Putin re-nationalized most of the strategic sectors of the Russian economy (gas, large parts of the oil and metals sector, defense, etc) and installed a large windfall tax on the oil held by oligarchs and Western companies - everything above $25 a barrel profit goes back to the Russian state and people. This is why the Russian people have seen their average income and wealth increase faster than any other country in the world for the last 12 years of the Putin administration.
      http://www.bne.eu/story3705/Russians_getting_richer_faster
      Inequality, according to the GINI has remained constant since the end of the Yeltsin era, or even improved slightly (in comparison with the US and UK for example where inequality have continued to skyrocket)

      Delete
    6. Continued:
      3. Putin is, I agree, far from a Leftist. There is no question. He is above all a pragmatist. He has kept several neoliberal holdovers from the Yeltsin era esconced in the finance and treasury depts (Kudrin, Greff etc) and he is responsible for Medvedev who is neoliberal Zapadnophile putz - this I admit has never sat well with me - I hate it in fact - but I have been forced to conclude that he has used them in his project of renatiionalization of the key sectors of the Russian economy and completely paying off Russia's national debt, by and large, rather than the other way around. Where in the US the corporations own the government, in Russia the government owns the big companies. It is not a perfect solution - but it has worked overall. I will take the latter over the former any day of the week. State capitalism. It is not socialism - but it is perhaps the best that can be achieved right now in this awful neoliberal globalized world.
      The lion's share of the proceeds from exploiting Russia's natural resources go back to the State and the Russian people. And for that - they are grateful - which is why he is re-elected so strongly, and his latest approval rating, even by independent liberal Levada, is 67%. A dream only matched by Lula and Chavez - whose government and economic policies the Putin administration can best be compared to.
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/07/28/vladimir-putins-approval-rating-increased-marginally-in-july-2012/

      Here is a good point-by-point refutation of the Guillory-Van Heuven Putin 'auserity' rumor-mill. While I diagree with Adomanis in terms of political and economic ideology, of course, I have found his well-researched assesments of the Russian economy to be the most objective in the Western press and alway worth, at least, seriously considering.
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/markadomanis/2012/08/06/katrina-vanden-heuvel-vladimir-putin-and-russia-style-austerity/

      4. As for the Western fetishized cult of the individual conception of human rights that is used to justify Imperialist militarism and Hegeomony around the world and atomize our own societies, prevent us from organizing or even identifying collectively as a credible threat to neoliberal and oligarchic interests, nnd make sure our only relationships with other human beings are reduced to consumer transactions, brand identities, and designed to destroy what little tradition and culture we have left in the pursuit of forging the 'Consumer' - the neo nihilist androgynous 'Neoliberal Man-Woman thing' - Frakk that, you can keep it, we don't want it in Russia, spacebo, no nyet spacebo...

      5. I remain, without animosity, constructively engaged as one Leftist to antoher to convince you that you have been ill-used and misinformed, and have been led down the wrong path on this one, at least IMHO.

      Here is a very thorough detailed and objective analysis of the legal case of the Pussy Riot Hate Crime Trial, by a friend of mine who is a Law Professor, a leftist (small t here), and worked previously in the Royal Court of Justice. If you are really interested in what is going on beyond the narrative accounts and obvious interests of the Western MSM and Russian liberals/neoliberals (the two are one) - I ask you to read it all the way through and at least give it an objective consideration.
      http://mercouris.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/pussy-riot-2/

      Delete
  14. Chris,
    There is so much empirical evidence on this site that you and your acolytes are so full of BS it's not even funny. In fact the second Mark who is obviously Russian, and only knows (like Israel Shamir, a point of course you avoided to respond to, when as with the others you just distort what they mean) a couple of trillion more things about Russia and Russian politics than you do. You are just and f--- Yanqui imperial moron, who pretends to be God and know everything, whereas every additional cretinism and insult you post just shows how far back you sink into primeval slime with your "henchmen". No what really should be investigated is YOUR connection to the NED and the gazillion other National Sekurity facades that give out money to provokateurs like yourself (the stories about the fake ID's made by the NSA on Facebook, etc. to create propaganda effects. etc.). Of course the 'second Mark' is absolutely right about the comparison of the "Pussy Riot" act to anti-semitic acts in synagogues. Judaism is much more complicit in Zionist atrocities than Orthodoxy ever was /is with any claims of "human right" abuses. In any case, Chris God of the local PA Liberty Bong-Bong Cult for Mega-Brainwashed morons who swallow every bit of imperial twitfood, who ARE YOU to be the Pontifex Maximus, who is the only one to decide who has rights, who has human rights, whose have been violated, and whose not... As I have said just a very average IV R autho-totalitarian thug, who since he is totally devoid of any logic or capacity to understand argument, has to "lay down the law" for everyone else. I am sure like your IV R handlers (as the 'second Mark' rightly suggested through the lines) all you are really pushing and wishing for is the real oligarchs who plundered Russia and then went to live in the UK and US, and/or plundered for IV R firms and interests, to be regain total control for Empire... Your case against Putin on human rights is totally fabricated and bogus, because the Empire and its Prokonsuls violate them all the time, and only care about them as mechanisms for "regime-change"... Your economic and legal case is even more bogus because the characters you defend in Russia are a trillion times more oligarchical, corrupt and right-wing than Putin. And of course they are all good friends of the IV R...
    Why don't you just start formalizing your own cult: Histoire d'O for Morons: "Pussy Riot" + "Sex Pistols" = Imperial Moron Provokateur Heaven....
    In fact why don't you start a pseudo-Russian punk band of punk-aholics for the election of Yeltsin II, funded by the NED and Soros... You make Pinochet look like a democrat...
    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The second Mark is obviously Russian. That might be the one correct thing in your entire post.

      The other Mark is also obviously a Russian nationalist bigot and it was living with people like that their whole lives which has driven groups like Voina to protest the way they do.

      I will remind you that Putin IS "Yeltsin II." Putin worked in the Yeltsin administration for three years in the '90s and in '99 took over from him.

      For people who claim to know so much about Russia this is a curious thing to "forget."

      You display traits of the mentally disturbed. You're typing in the run-on sentences and non-delineated paragraphs of the paranoid schizophrenic. On top of this you think disagreement with you stems from conspiracy.

      It would be nice to get paid for doing the blog but this is not the case; if you know where I can apply to the US government for a grant to tell people to go fuck themselves by all means send an address along.

      Apparently I haven't formed my own opinions, I get paid by The Conspiracy to write them. Voina doesn't have their own opinions, The Conspiracy pays them to pull their pranks.

      Only you and people who agree with you have their own opinions. The rest of us are paid by The Conspiracy.

      That sounds perfectly reasonable...

      Delete
    2. I'll append I was wrong about the other Mark; he's not Russian. He works for the only university in Russia which gets funded directly by the central government instead of through the education ministry.

      But remember, folks, Pussy Riot are paid agents of the Americans! It's NED money! I get that too!

      We're all getting frickin' rich here apparently.

      Delete
  15. Mark -

    I've absolutely no problem with posting links of what Voina's done - in fact most of it I think is pretty interesting and in the case of the giant penis at FSB HQ quite funny & completely appropriate.

    The fact is that you don't seem to have looked at them recently - 404 errors & the like, and largely not direct links to photos of Voina. I had to Google "cats mcdonald's voina" even to verify that happened.

    If you post another set that's directly to photos (or photos with captions)that work - I have no problem with people seeing them.

    What's bizarre here is that I mentioned the orgy in the original article and the penis in the comments on this thread days ago, yet you seem to think I'm concealing that from people. Perhaps I should have put more info on Voina in the original piece, but this was a short opinion piece not a book.

    What I feel bad about is not including more background on what a huge figure Letov was & something about the Moscow Rock Laboratory.

    So you're essentially employed by the Russian government. Are you one of the people Strategy 2020 will cut the salary of, or is that just reserved for primary school teachers, firemen and doctors?

    2) The OECD did a 45,000 household study of income inequality & poverty in Russia. Among the findings:

    "Inequality in Russia has stayed high throughout the transition period, and even slightly increased since the beginning of the Millennium, according to measures of the Russian statistical agency (Rosstat). The Gini inequality index rose from 0.397 in 2001 to 0.422 in 2009, and the ratio of the average incomes of the highest decile to those of the lowest decile increased from 13.9 to 16.7 during this same period...

    ... one out of every five or six workers
    received below-subsistence wages in 2007. The wages of another 28% were in the range of one to two subsistence levels (Rosstat, p. 396), implying a high risk of absolute poverty for their families."

    http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/income-distribution-and-poverty-in-russia_5k9csf9zcz7c-en

    The report notes that pensioners have largely been shielded from poverty. Strategy 2020 calls for bumping back pension ages and increasing pension contribution from wages. There's also a lot of the usual neoliberal garbage about making Russian workers "more competitive" employees. We all know what that means.

    3) What's "rumor mill" about a document that calls for raising retirement age for example? How does one spin that?

    What's disturbing is that you seem to think that the 33% of the population who don't like Putin - that's tens of millions of people - have no particular right to protest.

    What's disturbing is that you don't mention that a 67% approval rating has been achieved in an environment in which journalists sometimes end up dead, or foreign journalists expelled.

    And you still don't seem to get that people like Voina are hardly the same critics as pro-capitalist oligarchs. You don't seem to get that Voina and gay people, etc. have a problem with a church that works with the secret police to crush internal dissent.

    4) "As for the Western fetishized cult of the individual conception of human rights..."

    That right there is where and why we can safely ignore you. The only thing more dangerous than a street thug who doesn't think you have rights is a professor who justifies the same with better vocabulary.

    5) "you have been ill-used and misinformed"

    Again anyone who disagrees with Putin is either a dupe or a paid agent.

    Aren't you the one collecting checks from the Russian government?

    Any trial in which a woman's father is asked by a prosecutor about what kind of art she likes is straight out of Orwell.

    Update: here's the penis:

    http://boingboing.net/2010/06/16/russian-art-group-vo.html

    This was done on Che Guevara's birthday.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Yes, human rights are a fiction, as is democracy. Lenin, indeed.

    Interesting to see who thinks they're leftists these days.

    Fuck Putin.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Second Mark,

    I found what you said quite interesting. Do you have a blog where I can further read you?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Chris,
    Honestly didn't bother to return to your blog, because wading into garbage dumps is a waste of time for people who actually know something, and use their time to actually engage in constructive change.
    In any case for any of your readers who might want to KNOW something instead of spew Western propaganda like yourself, Israel Shamir has written a superb piece on CounterPunch (which republished your piece of trash to their credit (freedom of speech and press) and discredit (quality of the piece printed), which virtually leaves NOTHING Mr. Chris Randolph has said and printed standing. I mean NOTHING... Here is the link:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/23/the-secret-history-of-pussy-riot/

    Now who is the person who comes off as engaging in "ignorant defense"??? A pity that "ignorant" is probably only the most polite and naif (believing in your ethical good faith) adjective. I might be more inclined to ask if the NED is still going to sending you their cheque now for "services rendered".
    ***By the way Chris, you see Israel Shamir, who actually believes in both truth and democractic interaction (not censorship of links...), actually DID post his e-mail address beneath his article.

    Very sincerely as usual,

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark -

      You ignorant asshole -

      1) Shamir evidently can't read English that well because he claimed that the US State Dept. paid for a PR single. They didn't - his own link says The Guardian did.

      2) I get email about PR all of the time. My email address, you fucking moron, is on this page, to which the article linked. Anyone who puts their email address on a web page without breaking it up some so the bots don't grab it is asking for a box filled with spam.

      Delete
  19. I've just installed iStripper, so I can have the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.

    ReplyDelete