Orthodox Activists Crash Pussy Riot Play in Moscow

Late on Monday, Russian Orthodox Church activists interrupted a theatrical show about Pussy Riot. It was a reminder that it is not just Russian President Putin, “re-elected” to a third four-year term as president after serving four years as prime minister, that Pussy Riot and opposition activists have been challenging, but the Russian Orthodox Church.

The performance, entitled “Khamovnichesky Court. The Sequel” (a reference to the courtroom where the Pussy Riot members’ trial was held), was held at the Teatr.doc cellar theatre, which has previously staged anti-Putin performances, says AFP (via Raw Story):

Director Varvara Faer and playwright Mikhail Ugarov prompted the husband of Tolokonnikova, activist Pyotr Verzilov, their three lawyers and journalists to share their personal feelings on the trial, adding video footage.

“For us it was simply important to make people change their stance, to make them feel compassion most of all,” Faer told AFP.

“The important thing is that (the women) should be freed. That’s more important than the show.”

As the show was being filmed by a national channel, Orthodox activists burst in, shouting “Repent!” and “Why do you hate Russians?”. “We want to know why you are supporting this protest. Why are you so negative to the Orthodox faith?” said one man, Andrei Kaplin, as the audience booed and shouted. Describing themselves as “public activists” and “Orthodox missionaries,” a man named Dmitry Enteo said that “we came to talk to people who think it’s normal to desecrate our churches” (overlooking the fact that their entrance into the Teatr.doc cellar was not exactly of the sort to evoke something like a dialogue).

Violetta Volkova, a lawyer for Pussy Riot, said “We should not pay any attention to such people.” Verzilov said the Orthodox protesters do such things “very common[ly]” and that “you just have to learn to react to them adequately and peacefully.”

From her cell in a Moscow pre-trial detention center, Yekaterina Samutsevich wrote that she, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have lost none of their resolve to fight to remove Russian President Vladimir Putin from power. Responding to questions posed by the Guardian via the band’s lawyer, Samutsevich wrote:

“What I can say for sure is that we still madly want changes in Russia – toward anti-authoritarian leftist ideas. We, along with many citizens of our country, are burning even more with the desire to finally take from Putin his monopoly on power, since his image no longer seems so total and terrible. In fact it is just an illusion, created by his spin doctors on government television channels.”

In her closing statement to the trial, Samutsevich had also described the cozy relationship between Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church, whose head, Kirill Gundyaev, is a former KGB colleague of Putin’s.

Like a medieval monarch seeking the backing and the blessing of the Pope, Putin, Samutsevich wrote, has gone out of his way to “exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetics”  – which has been “historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia” — to offer “convincing, transcendental guarantees of his long tenure at the helm.”

So much for Russia as a “secular” state.

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Photo by Fibonacci Blue

29 comments

Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P.3 years ago

thanks

a             y m.
g d c.3 years ago

ty

BUSY NO FW Rumbak
ANA MARIJA R3 years ago

Thank you for the article.

Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton3 years ago

Will the religious zealots be imprisoned for hooliganism?

Jessica Lakis Mullan

Funny, I just watched one of James Burke's "Connections" programs that mentioned a Russian scientist, who went on to pioneer chemotherapy, was banned by the Orthodox Church for developing a cure for syphilis. Their logic being, of course, that syphilis was Divine Punishment for sin, and as such should not be cured. Are the Dark Ages that cozy that so many continue to desire to exist in them?

Fernando Nobull
Fernando Nobull3 years ago

Hooliganism and theatrical hatred. Surely these people deserve 2 years in prison.

Robert O.
Robert O.3 years ago

Thanks Kristina.

Terry V.
Terry V.3 years ago

noted

Nils Lunde
PlsNoMessage se3 years ago

Thanks

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago

thanks