Pussy Riot

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I was very interested to read about the predicament of members of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot in the papers today. They are currently on trial in Russia for blasphemy, after pulling off a Situationist style stunt in a Russian church wearing balaclavas.

Russia strikes me as a country that has gone full circle. The Church is ascendant in Russia and it is quickly becoming what Suzanne Moore in the Guardian described as a Christian fundamentalist country. It seems that Russians have obliqued the Soviet era of their past, and are remembering and re-perceiving old Czarist power structures in their country. It is possible that quite quickly Russia will remember its old history, reshoulder that mantle, and start proclaiming that their ghosts be with the old Czars.

I feel a strange sympathy for Pussy Riot. They are political dynamite, an enemy of the Establishment and the national order. They represent a threat to the fundamental structure of the country with an ideology that could spark revolution, wipe away the foundations of old Russia and bring into existence a new socio-political structure. The ruling elite in Russia must view themselves as having no choice but utter overkill in their militating against this threat, howsoever iniquitous this looks from the outside, as they privately perceive the real danger thinkers like Pussy Riot pose.

I watched a video of Pussy Riot in their cages in a Russian court last night.  They are attractive young women and some of them have young children. They seemed chirpy and had their spirits high. I felt sorry for them but I knew I can’t help them in any way, shape or form. I felt as if I must have been in their predicament once because I knew something about what they were going through. But just because you watch someone on YouTube doesn’t mean you can help them, or talk to them at all. All I can do is wish them luck, and hope things work out OK for them. I think if in a coupe of year’s time Pussy Riot ever tour the UK we should all go and see them.

Russia is a strange country. It is a testing ground and melting pot of ideologies. It is as if, in private parts of Russia for the last decade, there has been a nocturnal hinterland where ideologies, religions, sects and corporations rose like prehistoric beasts on the horizon and battled under piercing starlight. Everything has been in Russia: contract killers for hi-tech corporations, the Illuminati, Freemasons, the defining glories of world fame. There have been guns and violence from Mafiosi and organised crime families, there have been journalists shot by political powers with black souls, and there have been the biggest corporations and governments on Earth playing games of poker with billion dollar chips. There have been underground geniuses hacking the media, and media tycoons manipulating the memetic structure of the gestalt. There are been invisible celebrities lost beyond reach in a continuum of hyperreality. The supernatural is very widely believed in in Russia, and there are plenty who see otherworldly authorities that aren’t spoken of by professional types in London and Birmingham, or properly believed in during daylight hours, debating quantum physics across spooky distances in places soaked in dreamlike reality.

Russia is a strange country sometimes. In many ways it is like everyday England, with buses and banks and coffee shops. It has its other side though.  Perhaps England has a hidden side. I see private aspects of Birmingham that are interesting to twitterati, and I would love to see more.

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