Don’t bother trying to purchase any of Pussy Riot’s music on iTunes. I tried again yesterday and there’s still nothing.

Delinquents guilty of desecrating democracy?

Given that we live in an era where even Buy Nothing Day has merchandise, it seems shocking that the most famous feminist punk band in the 2012 megaverse is failing to cash in on its extraordinary notoriety.

This, after all, is the all-grrrl collective currently scoring 247 million hits on the Google search engine. The band whose celebrity mosh pit includes Björk, Courtney Love and Yoko Ono. The Russian rockers whose conviction and jailing on charges of hooliganism have been loudly condemned by the US, Britain, France and no small number of Amnesty International flash mobs.

So where is the moxie ladies’ product line? Where is the deluxe double CD and the reality TV series and the special commemorative jailbird figurines with articulated limbs and Velcro-able shackles?

It is still possible that all these things will come. But for the moment, the members of Pussy Riot are too busy being political prisoners. And by political prisoners, I’m not talking about Julian “lucky I schmoozed the leader of an antsy South American nation on my TV show!” Assange’s brand of Ecuadorean embassy confinement.

I’m talking actual incarceration for two whole years in a Russian prison colony simply for performing 41 seconds of an anti-Vladimir Putin protest song.

At 18 days of jail per second of singing, that’s one hell of a pricey tune.

For those of you who missed the back story, Pussy Riot are a bunch of smart artsy Russian feministas who stage impromptu punk performances while wearing luridly coloured balaclavas and fluoro frocks.

In February this year, they began thrashing out a catchy little number called Holy Mary, Drive Putin Away in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Three members were arrested and – after a show trial whose many lowlights included non-ironic cries of “witches!” and a serious debate about the possibility of demonic possession – they were each sentenced to two years’ jail.

The spunkiness of the chicks involved and the novelty value of the case has led some jaded commentators to sneer at the immense international interest. (Madonna certainly didn’t help matters when she expressed her outrage by yanking her top off at a gig. Wow. Those Pussy Riot ladies must have felt so special.)

But regardless of what you think of the band’s rowdy stylings or penchant for sacrilege, Pussy Riot is the real deal. It may not be moving units on the music market, but it is successfully selling the message that Russia’s real punk is Putin.

Now there’s the delinquent who’s guilty of desecrating democracy.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST

Most commented


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    • Gary Cox says:

      06:14am | 23/08/12

      Why would you want to buy their music? It’s really really bad

    • Trok says:

      08:33am | 23/08/12

      Gary.. your brother Carl Cox would be so ashamed…

      - tork
      Dad Blog

    • Gary Cox says:

      01:18pm | 23/08/12

      Is Carl on the same side as Macca and Madonna? Right that’s it he’s not invited to Christmas lunch this year.

    • Screaming Silence says:

      07:07am | 23/08/12

      They got what they deserved.

    • Chris L says:

      08:27am | 23/08/12

      Two years gaol for a song criticising the government?! If we followed such procedures here half the Punchers would get life!

    • morrgo says:

      09:07am | 23/08/12

      @Screaming Silence: What distilled wisdom in one short sentence.

      Sure, and they should count themselves lucky, just ask Anna Politkovskaya.  Except you can’t, since Putin’s hoons shot her dead in her house.

    • Ted says:

      09:23am | 23/08/12

      @Chris L: The charges were for desecrating a place of worship. If a punk band tried to perform in a Mosque during the middle of a service, what do you think their sentence would be?

    • AJ of Here says:

      10:19am | 23/08/12

      Immediate death, Ted. And don’t bother with the courts. There won’t be enough left of them to prosecute.

    • j-dub says:

      11:35am | 23/08/12

      Places of worship can kiss my arse.

    • Chris L says:

      11:50am | 23/08/12

      @Ted - I wasn’t aware they didn’t have church permission to perform there.

    • Screaming Silence says:

      11:54am | 23/08/12


      Where you there?  Did they say Putin sent them or is there a lot of assumptions going on here?

      Just as I thought.

    • iMitchy says:

      11:54am | 23/08/12

      Chris L,

      Refreshingly accurate grammar. Thank you. Even the government uses the spelling “jail” now. When did we get so lost? I was taught this stuff in kindergarten…

    • AJ of Here says:

      12:08pm | 23/08/12

      What a lovely and telling comment from the atheist j-dub. Typical of a group who are as religiously zealous in attacking religions as other religions are.

      Pfft! Atheist, religious zealots. Same faith based arrogant and condescending crapstains.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      12:49pm | 23/08/12

      “Pfft! Atheist, religious zealots. Same faith based arrogant and condescending crapstains.”

      Please at least learn what you’re talking about before frothing at the mouth.  That way, something sensible may have a chance of escaping from between the flying spittle…

    • AJ of Here says:

      02:09pm | 23/08/12

      Oh really? Are you saying that you believe the atheists when they claim that they are not about religion, yet they bang on about their religion all the time? Seriously, you actually believe that there is a difference between an atheist saying that God does not exist and a Christian saying that the Hindu gods do not exist? Really?

      Methinks that I am not the one who needs to think about what he is saying, Mr Tool.

    • JackTD says:

      02:35pm | 23/08/12

      “Pfft! Atheist, religious zealots. Same faith based arrogant and condescending crapstains.”

      AJ of Here,

      At least you’re better than them all right? Because that comment wasn’t arrogant and condescending…

    • JackTD says:

      02:58pm | 23/08/12

      Oh AJ.

      How are the athiestic beliefs a religion?

      If merely beliefs qualify a religion, then what about your beliefs that athiests and religious people all suck?

      Does that make you a religion? You’d certainly be more arrogant and strong-headed than the majority of them…

    • AJ of Here says:

      03:03pm | 23/08/12

      Of course it is, Jack. That is the point.

      Isn’t it funny how that certain groups are arrogant and condescending to all who do not subscribe to their brand of madness, but then get all butthurty when the same is done to them?

      Let me reiterate in a more polite term, because apparently someone got all butthurty when they are called on their arrogant and condescending manner: There are two differences between the beliefs of atheists and religionists. The first is the number of gods being worshipped (from zero to umpteenth multitudes). Each believe that the other’s beliefs are fairytales and each believe that the other should be pilloried for their beliefs. Neither is tolerant at all, and given half a chance, both would want their beliefs enshrined in law.

      The other difference is the degree of rabidness (rabidity?) between the two groups. There is often a significant proportion of religionists who are more than content to be left alone to do their thing, and another significant number who are religionist only in name. Athiests, on the other hand, proudly claim their hatred of religionists as a badge of honour, and by their own definition, cannot leave others the hell alone. It is their reason for being. In this, atheists display the same kind of intolerance, hatred and vitriol that is shown by RABID religionists, many of whom even their own co-religionists dislike.

      Clear and polite enough for you, Mr Butthurty?

    • JackTD says:

      03:20pm | 23/08/12


      I’m sure all of athiests you encountered in your first-year-uni philosphy class were very similar to those you have described, but the reality is that that is a gross generalisation.

      As an athiest myself, I don’t call for the abolishment of religion, or for those of religious leaning themselves to adhere to my set of beliefs, merely for the seperation of church and state, which I think is like lobbying for any other political viewpoint.

      Stop being so close-minded, you’re really just embarrassing yourself here.

      The irony surrounding your entire argument is simply too much.

    • Tim says:

      07:56am | 23/08/12

      Pussy Riot’s music is some of the worst ever made and I’m a massive Punk fan.

      Secondly, I think part of the reason that their sentence was so large is because of the reaction of international ‘celebrities’ flocking to support them. Their whole cause got lost in a global outrage about whatever the individual thought they were about. They’ve been sacrificed on the altar of social trendiness. At least their ‘supporters’ feel like they made a difference.

    • Al B says:

      09:27am | 23/08/12

      I support them whether their punk is up to ‘standard’ or not ...russia’s music and general artistic scene is pretty backward. These girls are pushing some uncomfortable ideas and images out there in russia and good on them for it. While the view from the west is that its a good test for russia and putin ...Both failed…more importantly they are a first wave of artistic for the former socialist totalitarian country itself. Bring on the next, maybe the punk or whatever else will be better. And forget Madonna, would love to see Peaches tour there haha.

    • T-rev says:

      08:11am | 23/08/12

      “The band whose celebrity mosh pit includes Björk, Courtney Love and Yoko Ono.”

      A following that is definitely not worth bragging about, rather one to be embarrassed by…

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:20am | 23/08/12

      You can still buy music? Why would you bother with iTunes when you’ve got torrents and youtube?

      Why would you?

      Even Trent Reznor offers his music for free and Dave Grohl has practically endorsed downloading stuff for free.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      10:03am | 23/08/12

      I’m not surprised Trent Reznor offers his music for free. And Dave Grohl - Kurt would be turning in his grave if he heard the hair-metal you churn out. You learned nothing from your master, Nothing.

    • egg says:

      02:45pm | 23/08/12

      @Scotchfinger, you mean because Trent Reznor is smart enough to cut out the middle man and let people pay him directly for his music? Yeah, I’m not surprised either. He is awesome, after all.

      And Kurt Cobain was not Dave Grohl’s master, he was depressed musician who made some music and then killed himself. Nobody owes Kurt anything, least of all the people he left behind. Dave Grohl can make whatever music he likes.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      03:19pm | 23/08/12

      hmm egg, to be conciliatory I will find something nice to say about:

      Trent: he made misogyny and sexual violence acceptable, even desirable. Yay!
      Dave G: when he stops singing (or talking) and just plays drums, he is awesome.

    • Jenny says:

      08:28am | 23/08/12

      The big problem in Australia that people don’t realise yet with under our strict regime of tolerance and our one way anti-discrimation law they are no difference… your back folks, whatever you say and whatever you do can be used against you with the exception of the illegal boat people who are supreme.

    • Chris L says:

      08:30am | 23/08/12

      My sister in law posted “Free Pussy Riot!” on facebook. I commented that would be the kind of riot I could support.

    • Matchofbris says:

      09:01am | 23/08/12

      Hahaha, I can’t help but chuckle at that. What did she say?

    • Scotchfinger says:

      10:24am | 23/08/12

      Chris L, the sex worker industry is struggling as it is without calls for issue of free vouchers. Your right to protest is acknowledged, but I suggest you reconsider the issue.

    • Chris L says:

      12:01pm | 23/08/12

      Just a once off riot couldn’t hurt.

      I didn’t get any reply to my post, but I thought it was worth sharing.

    • chuck says:

      08:32am | 23/08/12

      Suggest they change their name to spoiled bitches!
      If they had been spanked on their behinds rather vigorously perhaps they wouldn’t have exhibited their strange anti social event?

    • marley says:

      09:18am | 23/08/12

      Not a big supporter of free speech, then?  The issue isn’t whether their music is good, or whether their opinions are pro or anti-social, but whether they should be punished for uttering them.

    • Andy of Sydney says:

      10:25am | 23/08/12

      They have the right to free speech but not without the permission of the owners of the property they are in. Free speech does not give you the right to FORCE others to condone or support or publish what you say.

      These idiots committed sacrilege on church grounds deliberately. Cry me a river that they get punished. They should have done it in the proper place: a public street or park or something similar.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:54am | 23/08/12

      Were they jailed for singing an anti-government song, or were they jailed for desecrating a Church?

      I’m all for the diminishment of religion in culture, but as I consider them private enterprises, they retain the right of control over what happens on their property.

    • marley says:

      09:27am | 23/08/12

      @mahrat - they were jailed for religiously motivated “hooliganism.”  So far as I’m aware, the Church wasn’t pursuing charges against them, so it’s really a matter of the State going after them for their anti-Putin stance.

      The thing is, in Russia, the Orthodox Church has always walked hand in hand with the government (except during the communist era).  The tsars used the Church as an instrument to keep the peasants subservient, and the Church went along because it enjoyed the protection and favour of the tsars.  Stalin took a different approach, doing his best to eliminate the Church, at least until he needed it during the Great Patriotic War.  Putin is more or less resurrecting the old relationship, and the Church is going along because it is once again enjoying the benefits of proximity to the secular powers.  I think this whole incident needs to be seen in that light.

    • Al B says:

      09:31am | 23/08/12

      Well it goes beyond private property trespass, only have to look at the trial and views expressed there to see that. They were more offended due to the type of property. Houses of whatever sky fairy should have no more protection than others. They were protesting against a religion ...artistically ...and they have very little other outlet there to do so. Religion in russia is part of a broader persecution of queer folks especially.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      09:37am | 23/08/12

      ‘I’m all for the diminishment of religion in culture’. Are you alerting others as to what is acceptable or not in your own eyes? I’m sure the Russian Orthodox would be fascinated by your views, carefully researched and pondered over as they are. Culture sprang ex nihilo into the world? The Russian idea of statehood is preferable in your eyes, to the eastern Christian orthodoxy? What a mature and original stance! Some deep thinkers on the Punch…

    • Red Duck says:

      09:58am | 23/08/12

      Mahrat, they have actually been jailed for Hooligansim offically and 2 years is the minimum sentence they could have received.

    • Red Duck says:

      09:59am | 23/08/12

      Mahrat, they have actually been jailed for Hooligansim offically and 2 years is the minimum sentence they could have received.

    • kitteh says:

      12:47pm | 23/08/12

      I seem to remember a certain level of outrage over the defilement of Australian war graves. Clearly, the location in which you air your political grievances - whether it is held sacred for religious or other grounds - matters.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      12:53pm | 23/08/12

      “The Russian idea of statehood is preferable in your eyes, to the eastern Christian orthodoxy? “

      It does not need to be either/or.  It is possible for a majority secular nation to have a better quality of living than anything a theocracy or the bastardised hybrid that Russia and a few others favour, has ever been able to offer.

    • marley says:

      02:00pm | 23/08/12

      @kietteh - there’s a difference between offensive speech and vandalism.  So far as I’m aware, the Pussy girls didn’t do any actual damage to the church.

    • Scotchfinger says:

      02:03pm | 23/08/12

      Tim the Toolman, who said anything about a theocracy? I’m talking about the right of the Russian Christian Orthodox church to be valued as an important part of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. And Russia is successful despite, not because of, its communist bent over the past century.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      02:26pm | 23/08/12

      ” I’m talking about the right of the Russian Christian Orthodox church to be valued as an important part of the lives of hundreds of thousands of people”

      Yes, well, we could argue about whether any institution has the right to poison the communal well of knowledge, but, that would be quite a long discussion.  I’d rather have that conversation over a beer with you than the Internet smile

    • Scotchfinger says:

      03:10pm | 23/08/12

      Drinks on the house (i.e. the Punch picks up the tab)?

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      04:36pm | 23/08/12

      Sounds good smile  Emma Jane, feel free to send your corporate AMEX details to Scotch!

    • Pavlo says:

      09:59am | 23/08/12

      Emma. Anyone for that matter. Why in Holy Mary Mother of God’s name would you want to buy their music? To demonstrate to all your friends how hip, cool and edgy you are at your next dinner party? Please, let’s be clear. That caterwauling is not music. It’s shrill attention seeking.

      2 years jail, yes, it sounds harsh, but really what did they expect in Russia?
      They are not in Melbourne or London. 

      I’d imagine they had a good idea of what kind of punishment they’d be dealt in their own country. 

      Just as we are very well aware that possessing say, marijuana or ecstasy when visiting countries such as Indonesia or Malaysia will get one put away for a very long time (or worse). That doesn’t make it right. But it’s a fact.

      I imagine they’ll make a lot of money after they are released from jail. ‘Ladies product lines’, CDs, TV shows, book deals. Mark my words: 41 seconds and 2 years in jail will be their highest paying gig ever.

      They have a little sympathy from me, but I cannot condone their actions. It reeks way too much of a publicity stunt for their awful ‘music’ and simply contrived to boost their personal popularity. Which it has achieved.

      Philip Jenkins gives a more culturally relevant perspective on the issue:

    • Inky says:

      10:32am | 23/08/12

      Sounds to me like a non-story. You knowingly break the law to push the envelope, you get punished for it.

      re: the many people saying they’re terrible, sounds to me like they’re being true to the genre. I don’t mean this with spite, but having studied the origins of punk, in those early days it was considered the pinnacle of the genre to get kicked out and banned from playing for being terrible. Obviously, the style has developed since then into something a little more listenable, but call them retro revivalists? or maybe not, I haven’t actually heard them, so i don’t have the context for their terribleness.

    • MarkS says:

      11:25am | 23/08/12

      At least half the posters here do not deserve the freedom we have. You disgust me. I will not even try to explain why, my time would be wasted.

    • colin says:

      12:30pm | 23/08/12

      @MarkS 11:25am | 23/08/12
      “At least half the posters here do not deserve the freedom we have. You disgust me…”

      Interesting take on here, especially considering you just dissed me on the “How do you say that” article by saying to me, “Still upset at all the vile people you are forced to share the world with dear (?)”

      Double standards much..?

    • Brizben says:

      11:31am | 23/08/12

      This is a true freedom of speech issue.

      I think this issue shows up all the right wingers who regularly confuse hate speech with free speech.

    • Tim says:

      12:08pm | 23/08/12

      Actually no it doesn’t.
      This is exactly the same as the hate speech issues and they were trespassing on Church property and condemning the church for supporting a politician.
      The punishment is ridiculous but I still don’t agree with what they did.

    • Brizben says:

      01:39pm | 23/08/12

      The church was trespassing on the rights of the people.

      Go to Russia and yell Pu-liar at the president and see what freedom of speech really means.

    • marley says:

      02:04pm | 23/08/12

      Actually, I think it shows up the left wingers as well - the ones who think that free speech should be limited so as not to offend any race, gender or minority group. 

      Sorry, but people ought to be able to express ideas that are repugnant or distasteful or unpopular, that challenge society and authority, that offend and dismay. Short of actual incitement to violence, speech out to be unconstrained.  Otherwise, how can it be “free?”

    • AdamC says:

      02:37pm | 23/08/12

      Marley is entirely correct. I have no problem with Pussy Riot holding and expressing their views. However, that is not all they did in this case. You can certainly argue that the band’s punishment for what seem to be the Russian equivalent of trespass-type offences is unreasonable and politically motivated. However, you cannot argue that Pussy Riot are true prisoners of conscience.

    • Brizben says:

      05:06pm | 23/08/12

      Some people always seem to have a hair to split.

      Lets face it, a lot of ignorant racists hide behind “freedom of speech” when they are cornered. In my experience a lot of racists are just people trying to be as rude, obnoxious and insulting as possible. The racist think they are clever but the rest of us just see them as aholes.

      The silence from societies like the IPA on a true freedom of speech in Russia issue speaks volumes.

    • marley says:

      07:48pm | 23/08/12

      @Brizben - back off.  I’m neither ignorant nor racist, and I deeply resent the implication that I might be.  I’m a free speech advocate, and I have a serious problem with the stance of some on the left that being “rude, obnoxious and insulting” is sufficient reason to deny free speech.

      Sure, you can form an opinion about people who utter racist comments - that’s entirely your right.  Shutting them up is not.

    • eRon says:

      11:48am | 23/08/12

      These girls are to punk, what Guy Sebastian is to R&B.
      I’m not surprised they were jailed, and might I suggest a similar sentence for Mr Sebastian for his crimes against music.

    • andre says:

      12:00pm | 23/08/12

      Russians are one of the sober people in the world today. They have learned their history lesson well.
      Some time ago a guy called Lenin was sent from the west by train, in a sealed off carriage full of gold. Soon after bolshevik revolution started that in the name of atheism destroyed a great deal of Russian heritage

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      12:56pm | 23/08/12

      “in the name of atheism “

      Please provide one piece of evidence where Lenin stated his actions were in the name of Atheism.  You know, the kind of statement that religious martyrs are so fond of saying right before/after they kill a woman for being raped.

    • Nick from Adelaide says:

      01:17pm | 23/08/12

      It was never “in the name of Atheism” Andre, that strawman has been burnt many times. But dont let me stop you from “bearing false witness” I think thats frowned upon in religious terms.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      05:15pm | 23/08/12

      Ctrl-F and “atheism” or “atheist”.  Not a single result on that page.  You might want to try again, and preferably with a respectable historical resource, rather than wikipedia.  Were it a central tenant under which he did what he did, you would expect it to show up at least once on there, no?

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      12:50pm | 23/08/12

      That’s what is called “singing”
      Could have fooled most people & they deserve prison for just opening their mouths and making such a noise.

    • Trev says:

      01:07pm | 23/08/12

      Kickass torrents has ‘Kill the Sexist’ by PR. Downloaded in about 10 minutes.

    • Hamsandwich says:

      01:12pm | 23/08/12

      Did I miss a meeting when did Australians become apologists for pseudo-tyrants like Putin?

      Was what the band did technically illegal? Almost certainly, it’s commonly known round these parts as civil disobedience - nothing was damaged, no one was hurt - and somehow yes a couple years jail seems a justifiable consequence.  You people would have been the ones calling for similiar penalties for Rosa Parks, after all she broke the law didn’t she? 

      “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  Well here’s a bunch of women doing something, musical abilities aside i applaud them for it.

    • Andy of Sydney says:

      02:42pm | 23/08/12

      Yes. Rosa Parks should be punished as the law demands. We can sympathise with her and use her case to change the law, but we should NOT ignore the law. It sets a dangerous precedence to the point that attempted murder and piracy gets ignored by the law because they were done under the banner of “it is right”. As it is now.

      Remember that just because someone is right doesn’t mean they should not be punished. If the law states that she is to be punished, then she should be punished. You want to do something good, change the law so that what they did is legal. Then they would not be punished IF they do it LATER.

      The law is not about what is right. It never was. It is a set of rules that the given society is expected to follow. To conflate the two is to muddy the waters and engage in a charade of smoke and mirrors, which is the main and only skill of leftards with a pet cause.

    • Whoo Hoo Bring it on says:

      02:58pm | 23/08/12

      you know they are only in jail because they are women according to Elizabeth Broderick. grin

    • AFR says:

      04:04pm | 23/08/12

      Everyone knows the greatest Russian chick-group was Tatu. Ahh.. those school uniforms…

    • che says:

      04:20pm | 23/08/12

      Are we really calling it singing?

    • stephen says:

      05:16pm | 23/08/12

      They were in the church in the first place precisely because of the Orthodox Church’s dewy eyed support for Putin.  Orthodoxy is (and always was) a reactionary force in Russia, Archbishop Kirill is a deeply divisive figure who proclaims that Putin was sent from god.

      They knew what the reaction would be. Only in a deeply conservative country with a broken political system could you throw up such an intense weird and outlandish protest group. 

      I take my hat off to them.  I am not sure 2 years in a gulag would be fun.  I just love the smug doo gooders on here all confident of their assertions about right & wrong.  Live under tyranny my friends and see how you react.  I bet none of you would have even 1% of the courage of these girls - we wouldnt hear a peep while you hid under your keyboards

    • Frank says:

      05:16pm | 23/08/12

      is it because it is in Russian? are you going to the right Itunes store?


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