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<nettime> Pussy Riot: We wish Nadia and Masha well, but...
nyettime on Sat, 8 Feb 2014 02:24:13 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Pussy Riot: We wish Nadia and Masha well, but...


We wish Nadia and Masha well - but they're no longer part of Pussy Riot

   It is harmful to the collective to confuse a campaign for prisoners'
   rights with our all-female separatist art performances

          Anonymous members of Pussy Riot: Garadja, Fara, Shaiba, 
          Cat, Seraphima and Schumacher

   We, the anonymous members of Pussy Riot, would like to say many thanks
   to all the people who have supported us, those who demanded the release
   of our members, those who sympathised with us and sympathised with our
   ideology. We are very grateful to all of you; we deeply appreciate and
   respect everyone who has contributed to the Pussy Riot campaign.

   Our joint efforts were not in vain: Vladimir Putin had to bend under
   the pressure of the international community and let Nadia and Masha
   free. Thus, 23 December was a real celebration for us - the liberation
   day of prisoners of conscience and the liberation of the entire Pussy

   But the amnesty is certainly not the end of our dreams. We demand real
   justice: that is, the complete abolition of the verdict and the
   recognition that the entire criminal case against Pussy Riot was

   We hope that justice will be restored on 21 February, the anniversary
   of our teasing performance in Christ the Saviour Cathedral, with the
   song "Mother of God, put Putin away!"

   We are very pleased with Masha and Nadia's release. We are proud of
   their resistance against the harsh trials that befell them, and their
   determination by all means to continue the struggle they had started
   during their time in the colonies.

   Unfortunately for us, they became so carried away with the problems in
   Russian prisons that they completely forgot about the aspirations and
   ideals of our group - feminism, separatist resistance, the fight
   against authoritarianism and personality cults, all of which caused
   their unjust punishment.

   It is no secret that Masha and Nadia are no longer members of the
   group, and will no longer take part in radical actionism. Now they are
   engaged in a new project, as institutionalised advocates of prisoners'

   But such advocacy is hardly compatible with radical political
   statements and provocative works of art - just as gender conformity is
   not compatible with radical feminism.

   Institutionalised advocacy can hardly afford a critique of fundamental
   norms and rules that underlie modern patriarchal society. Being an
   institutional part of society, such advocacy cannot go beyond the rules
   set forth by this society.

   Yes, we have lost two friends, two ideological teammates, but the world
   has acquired two brave human rights defenders - fighters for the rights
   of Russian prisoners.

   Unfortunately we cannot congratulate them 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: even though
   Nadia and Masha are the focus of the media and the international
   community and crowds of journalists heed their every word, so far no
   one is listening to them.

   In almost every interview they repeat that they have left the group,
   that they are no longer Pussy Riot, that they act in their own names,
   that they no longer engage in radical art activities. However,
   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 the termination of
   the entire collective, thus ignoring the fact that, at the pulpit of
   Christ the Saviour Cathedral, there were not two but five women in
   balaclavas, and that the performance in Red Square had eight

   The apotheosis of this misunderstanding was the announcement by
   Amnesty International of Masha and Nadia's appearance in Barclays
   Center in New York as the first legal performance of Pussy Riot.

   Moreover, instead of the names Nadia and Masha, the poster of the event
   showed a man in a balaclava with an electric guitar, under the name
   Pussy Riot, while the organisers smartly called for people to buy
   expensive tickets.

   All this is an extreme contradiction of the very principles of the
   Pussy Riot collective: we are an all-female separatist collective - no
   man can represent us either on a poster or in reality. We are
   anti-capitalist - we charge no fees for people to view our artwork, all
   our videos are distributed freely on the web, the spectators at our
   performances are spontaneous passersby, 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 channels.

   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 faces as a trademark for promoting any sort of goods or

   The mixing of the rebel feminist punk image with the image of
   institutionalised defenders of prisoners' rights is harmful to us as a
   collective, and harmful to the new role that Nadia and Masha have taken

   Hear them finally!

   Since Nadia and Masha have chosen 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 an art collective, have
   an ethical right to preserve our art practice, our name and our visual
   identity, distinct from other organisations.

   This article was published on the Guardian website at 19.45 GMT on
   Thursday 6 February 2014. It was last modified at 12.30 GMT on Friday 7
   February 2014.

     *  2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.
       All rights reserved.

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