Pussy Riot Offers Encouragement to Dissenters in Trump’s America

They draw on their own prison experience for a metaphor.

Nadya Tolokonnikova (left) and Sacha Adler of Russian group Pussy Riot during a debate at Dutch music festival Zwarte Cross on July 23, 2016 in Lichtenvoorde. Photo Vncent Jannink/AFP/Getty Images.
Nadya Tolokonnikova (left) and Sacha Adler of Russian group Pussy Riot during a debate at Dutch music festival Zwarte Cross on July 23, 2016 in Lichtenvoorde. Photo Vncent Jannink/AFP/Getty Images.

In a single tweet, Russian rockers Pussy Riot have made a layered statement about the prospects for—and potential consequences of—dissent during Donald Trump’s upcoming presidency after the real estate developer won the US presidential election November 8 on the Republican ticket.

The message suggests that Americans will be in a metaphorical prison under a Trump administration, while also pointedly predicting that those opposing Republican policies may be bound for a literal prison stay.

Two of the band’s members, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were jailed for nearly two years on charges of hooliganism after shooting a 2012 political video in a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Moscow in 2012. During her prison stay, Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike to protest what she called slave labor and unsanitary conditions.

Thousands have taken to the streets to speak out after Trump’s election, and he has made no secret of his wish to strike back at those who criticize him. He offered to pay the legal fees of those who engage in violence against protesters at his campaign rallies, promised to prosecute Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on undefined charges, and pledged to “open up our libel laws” so that he can sue investigative journalists and newspapers that publish critical stories.

For those seeking a visual identity for their anti-Trump activism, Alyokhina has a suggestion. In a 2015 interview with artnet News, she encouraged appropriation of the Pussy Riot name and the colorful balaclavas they often wear while speaking and performing. “When we are going to other countries, we always meet people who are Pussy Riot,” she said.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics