Pussyriot2

Think Tank

Putin Provokes a Different Kind of Riot

What is the Big Idea?

Vladimir Putin's supporters are going after the ladies. Especially the virginal ones. And they have new campaign videos to prove it.

Ad agency, Aldus Adv, released two videos that have gone viral in an attempt to attract first-time voters for the presidential elections on March 4. The videos show young women consulting a fortune teller and a doctor about their "first time."

A loose translation of the latter video is here, thanks to the folks at Jezebel.

"We'll find out, little beauty, who faith has in store for you."
"You know, I hope it's for love. It's my… first time."
"The cards will tell the truth… I see it will be for love… without deception…"
"Wow. It's him!"
"You'll be happy with him. He'll protect you like a stone wall."
Putin. First time - only for love.

Instead of attracting voters, the creepy videos might have the opposite effect, with one tweet from @step_42 that reads "Putin. Only for love the first time? Obviously the third time is by force."

The loudest female voices in Russia's election season, however, are not anything like the demure beauties seen in these videos. In fact, the most vocal women are writing music with blatant anti-Putin sentiments.

Pussy Riot, an all-female punk band marked by their colorful garb and neon ski masks, has been making the news lately for their impromptu performances in public places that often end when they're escorted out by security guards. Their latest performance took place in February when four of the band members rushed the altar at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform their song "Holy Shit," according to The Moscow Times.

Check out that performance in this video:

 

What is the Significance?

The band formed in September last year shortly after Putin announced his third run for the presidency, according the the founding members who spoke to the The Guardian . And since then, the band has become "the latest symbol of young Russian discontent."

"A lot of us couldn't sleep after this announcement," said Tyurya.  "So we decided, damn it, we need to do something. We always went to protests and things, but it seemed to us we needed to do something more."

They're also using their gender to their advantage, as women receive fines rather than jail sentences for their offenses.

"The revolution should be done by women," Garazhda told The Guardian. "For now, they don't beat or jail us as much."

"There's a deep tradition in Russia of gender and revolution – we've had amazing women revolutionaries."

Six members of the band were arrested on Saturday for their cathedral performance on charges of hooliganism, according to The Moscow Times.

Their controversial choice to perform at the Red Square in January "catapulted the all-female punk band into the pantheon of Russia's increasingly creative protest movement."

The band has grown to 30 members, crew included. They perform at protests and marches to air their grievances on issues like gay rights and political corruption. Their performances, and  provocative song titles like "Putin Got Scared" and "Death To Prison, Freedom To Protest" shows that "fear of arrest long ago left the band members, steeped in the tradition of illegal protest" according to The Guardian.

While the band members choose to remain anonymous, opting to keep their masks on even during interviews, they are not afraid of authorities.

"We have experience with it, we've been detained at protests before," said Tyurya. "It's not scary – you're surrounded by good, normal people, those who protest against Putin."

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