Pussy Riot on Trial: The Case Against the Anti-Putin Feminist Rockers

Three members of the anonymous group are on trial this week for something all punk rockers may be guilty of — anti-establishment lyrics

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Mikhail Metzel / AP

From left: Maria Alekhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, members of feminist punk group Pussy Riot sit behind bars at a court room in Moscow, July 30, 2012.

Back in 1979, in their song “California Uber Alles,” The Dead Kennedys referenced the former German national anthem to strongly suggest that California Governor Jerry Brown was a fascist. The song, which is sung from Brown’s perspective, declares, “I will be Fuhrer one day/I will command all of you/Your kids will meditate in school.” The song thrilled some who heard it as a call to action, horrified other and caused some people to simply shrug. It is punk rock and, more or less, that’s the reaction it is meant to elicit. Despite the name calling, no one sued the Dead Kennedys. They weren’t arrested. They just stormed back in the studio to stage more sonic protests filled with equally charged lyrics.

Fast forward to February of this year in Russia where three members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot are on trial for the crime of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” The young women—two of whom have small children at home—face up to seven years in prison for performing an anti-Putin song in Russia’s main cathedral. Their arrest and trial has drawn international attention to Putin’s strict anti-protest laws, his seeming desire to crack down on opposition, as well as to the ongoing struggle between church, state, protest and punk rock in Russia.

(MORE: Anti-Putin Feminist Punk Rockers on Trial in Moscow)

“Pussy Riot is an anonymous feminist collective,” explained Bikini Kill member Tobi Vail via email. “Putin can put them in jail, but he can’t destroy their method of protest.” The masked membership of Pussy Riot formed in late September 2011, soon after President Vladimir Putin announced that he planned to run for a third term. The women, who are primarily young, educated and middle class, felt the need to protest what they viewed as Putin’s brutal, corrupt and totalitarian rule. Driven by feminist theories and perceived political oppression, they chose a name meant to raise eyebrows and to fight preconceived notions about women and politics. One of the group’s members explained their moniker to Vice, “Sexists have certain ideas about how a woman should behave, and Putin, by the way, also has a couple thoughts on how Russians should live. Fighting against all that—that’s Pussy Riot,” said member Garadzha. With their cleverly seditious name selected, the women took to the streets, part Guerilla Girls, part Riot Grrl, wearing Crayola-colored ski masks to stage their music-driven protests in loud anonymity.

The masks serve to not only hide their faces, but to allow for amorphous membership. “[The mask] means that really everybody can be Pussy Riot… we just show people what the people can do,” said a member calling herself Sparrow when speaking to The Guardian. They can do a lot. Their so-called actions involve forming flash mobs in public places and singing songs of protest. They took to the roof of a Detention Center in Moscow to sing “Death to Prisons—Freedom to Protest.” In January of this year the group invaded Red Square, a locale used during czarist Russia to announce government decrees, and performed a song titled “Putin Chickens Out.” All eight members of that group were arrested for illegal protesting. They were ultimately freed and a video of their performance went viral, drawing international media attention to the group, and bringing the women into contact with the Western artists who had inspired them—including 1990s-era Riot Grrrl U.S. feminist punk movement legends Bikini Kill and Le Tigre.

(MORE: Poll: Stark Russian Divide over Vladimir Putin)

Then in February, five members of Pussy Riot donned their balaclavas and brightly colored outfits, snuck on to the main altar of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral—a site reserved for the male priests—and sang a song denouncing the ties between Putin’s government and the dominant Russian Orthodox Church. (Putin’s campaign to return to the presidency was backed “clearly, if informally,” by the leader of the church, Patriarch Kirill.) The cathedral performance was part of a lively protest movement that at its peak saw 100,000 people turn out for rallies in Moscow, some of the largest in Russia since the demise of the USSR. The illicit Pussy Riot concert lasted less than a minute and you can watch it on YouTube. The police were called, no arrests were made, no charges were filed.

Then, a few weeks later the three women— Maria Alyokhina, 24; Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22; and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 — were arrested, imprisoned and repeatedly refused bail on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility. Despite having small children at home and having been charged with non-violent offenses, the women have been held in prison ever since, which is not the norm in Russia. More alarming, due to the face masks the group wears, it’s not entirely certain that the women are in Pussy Riot (two of the women have denied it). And if they are in the group, it’s unclear whether they were actually at the protest at the church. It’s as if, as Carole Cadwalladr of the Guardian put it, “The Russian government has gone and arrested an idea and is prosecuting through the courts with a vindictiveness the Russian people haven’t before seen.” The women have plead not guilty.

(MORE: New Barbie Has Pink Hair and Tattoos, and Some Parents Aren’t Happy)

While state-run television is filled with images denouncing the women’s crimes, and many in Russia’s religious community are satisfied by the state’s reaction to the prank, the women’s imprisonment has galvanized the anti-Putin movement in Russia, whose members view the right to peaceful protest as paramount to a free society. Many others see the trial against the three women as trumped-up blasphemy charges, which should not stand in a putatively secular country. Reuters reports that outside the courthouse on Monday, supporters chanted, “Girls, we’re with you!” and “Victory!” as the women were escorted into the courthouse for the first day of their trial. The Guardian mentions anti-government rallies, thousands strong, where Pussy Riot’s name was chanted loudly by supporters. An open letter condemning the trial was signed by more than 200 well-known public personalities, along with more than 41,000 Russian citizens. In St. Petersburg, an artist sewed his mouth shut to protest the musicians’ imprisonment. Prominent Russian actors, directors and musicians have urged the authorities to release the group. Amnesty International has recognized Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich as prisoners of conscience. Speaking with The Guardian, Ilya Oskolkov-Tsentsiper, the co-founder of the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, eloquently explained why the Pussy Riot trial has drawn the attention of Russians and the international press:

“Because they are so young. Because they have children. Because what they have done is so unimportant and silly and has all of a sudden become so huge because of this disproportionate reaction. Because it touches so strangely on so many things, and this is where it becomes an event of almost historic proportions. It touches everything: the church and the state, believers and non-believers, the judge and the tsar, and this Russian thing that never ever ends.”

Outside of Russia, Pussy Riot has some very outspoken supporters—especially in the music community—who see the band as kindred spirits and are trying to draw more attention to the group’s plight. “Creating visibility from abroad is essential right now for these women, as well as for the future of the Russian government and people,” said JD Samson of Le Tigre and Men via email. “As a feminist activist and artist and as an activist and artist in general, it is my duty to help people gain understanding of the Pussy Riot story so that I can help spread the word as far as possible. The more individuals across the country who understand what is happening in Russia, and the more people who can relate to each personal story, the more we can rise up and defend our sisters’ freedoms.”

It’s a sentiment that Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and The Corin Tucker Band echoes, “As an artist in the U.S. I’ve always had the privilege of free speech to voice my opinions and my viewpoints as a part of my work. We need to use our voices now to raise the alarm that these women cannot be imprisoned for expressing their political beliefs.” Musicians as diverse as Sting, Franz Ferdinand and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have all publicly criticized the women’s arrest. Pussy Riot’s lawyer, Mark Feigin, told the Moscow Times this week that Chili Peppers’ lead singer Anthony Kiedis is talking to Bono and Madonna to enlist their help as well. Beastie Boy Adam Horowitz (a.k.a. Ad Rock) made his first public performance after the death of his band mate, Adam Yauch, to DJ a benefit for Pussy Riot.

(MORE: We’re not violating human rights. We’re just trying to put them back on the right moral path.)

The mobilization of the music industry around Pussy Riot trial harks back to the roots of punk. “Our performance contained no aggression toward the public — only a desperate desire to change the situation in Russia for the better,” said defendant Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in her statement to the court. Music — especially folk and punk songs — has long been a means of demanding political or societal change. Whether it’s Bikini Kill urging “Reject All American,”  Against Me! singing about “The Politics of Starving,” The Sex Pistols calling for anarchy, or Iggy Pop and the Stooges taking a stance against the Vietnam War in “Search and Destroy,” punk and politics have always gone hand in hand. This is why the plight of Pussy Riot strikes a chord within the community, especially among women in the scene.

“I can’t help but feel spoiled as a western musician when I think about these women my age that are in jail and in hiding,” said Hannah Lew of Grass Widow in an email. “I think in the midst of our aesthetic politics as American artists, we can know that Pussy Riot is starving in jail right now for the demand that we could all live in a world where we can freely express ourselves.” Amy Klein, from the band Titus Andronicus (whose nonprofit organization, Permanent Wave, has been holding fundraisers for the jailed women) told Mother Jones, “The arts have always served the purpose of shining a light on and critiquing dominant ways of thinking, and if we can’t have that be true all over the world, then it’s sort of — what’s the point in having artists anyway?”

(MORE: Tom Gabel of Against Me! Comes Out as Transgender)

Grass Widow’s Lew says that American artists should be inspired by Pussy Riot to act, “We have ultimate freedom of speech, but it is the utilization of this freedom that I think we often fall short within. Many American artists seem more intent on furthering their celebrity than using their positioning and opportunity to express any discontent.” Portia Sabin of Kill Rock Stars records agrees. “I’m inspired by these women and the stand they’re taking,” she said in an email. “I wish more of us felt able to overcome our complacency and exercise our right to engage in nonviolent protest. That’s how we change the world.” Which is exactly what Pussy Riot wants to do, but to foment that kind of change on a global scale, they need help. In their own words:

“Pussy Riot has to keep on expanding. That’s one of the reasons we choose to always wear balaclavas — new members can join the bunch and it does not really matter who takes part in the next act — there can be three of us or eight, like in our last gig on the Red Square, or even 15. Pussy Riot is a pulsating and growing body. Do you know anyone who wants to come to Moscow, play illegal concerts, and help us fight Putin and Russian chauvinists? Or maybe they could start their own local Pussy Riot, if Russia is too cold and too far.”

Bikini Kill’s Vail agrees, adding, “There will always be more anonymous participants. Pussy Riot chapters are springing up all over the world to draw attention to the trial. Who knows what they will do next?” Anyone know where to buy a bright pink balaclava?

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MORE: Sex Pistols Decline to Perform at London Olympics Closing Ceremony

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lostam7
lostam7

As an open-minded American spending about 4 years living in russia, observing and studying russian society and culture, I want to present my viewpoints.  I hope this provides some insight to anybody intending to spend anytime over in russia.  And, hopefully avoid any problems that could arise. 

Don't expect that any american ideals will be of any use in russia - the people are stubborn to the extreme not to change - and have no concept of a 'good' society (see 'Stubborn to be Stupid' below). 

 < STUBBORN TO BE STUPID

Russians can and will not listen or learn new ideas - such as to improve themselves.  They are too proud and stubborn - that they prefer keeping stupid ways - just because they refuse to change.  ..And yes, I have heard many a russian say - that they would prefer just being 'stupid' than changing - QED. 

This stubborn trait seems to be a builtin instinct - like they are born with it.  I have seen this in ALL russians that I have met in the country in the 4 years that I have been here - in moscow and in other cities. 

People will jam up at the front of a bus because they want to be in the front of the bus - leaving many people jammed on the entry steps (like 5-7 people).  I have had many an argument trying to get peple to move to the empty middle and back of the bus.

I have even seen on the Train, people rarely slide over to allow a family to sit down.  They might give up a seat for a child - but they don't think far ahead enough to just slide over 1 seat and allow both parents to sit down with the child. 

Peons and Robots - Like an ant nest - you lift up a rock and remove the queen ant - the ants will run around for a few days - defending and running their now useless nest - because they do not know better on how to fix it.  Russian people do not seem to have any understanding of what-makes or how-to-build a society - they just stubbornly follow the broken system - and insist that what they have will always work. 

 * DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.

Russians have no concept of this idea.  Russians follow a minimal set of rules in society - it seems because of a fear of getting in trouble. 

 * IDEAS OF GOOD AND BAD.

I have seen none of this in any people older than in the 20's.  I have seen some people in the young generation, that have only a naive concept of this.  They sometimes try to be nice, but they can not extend it beyond the immediate situation. 

Level of Society in Russia (Moscow supposedly they call the center and best of their country) is no better than American Elementary School Level.

TABLE COMPARISON OF MY FINDINGS :

Societal Ethic : | Russian Society : | American Elementary School : |

American High School : | Normal American Society : |

Stand up for Others to Improve Society | NO | NO | NO | YES |

Feeling of how Actions Affect Other People | NO | NO | NO | YES |

Build/Improve Society for total Good | NO | NO | YES | YES |

Common Politenesses | NO (only as Rules -see below) | NO | YES | YES |

Learn/Copy Self Improvement from Others | NO | YES | YES | YES |

Follow Rules from Penalty of Punishment | YES | YES | YES | YES |

So from comparing these commonly known traits of Societal Ethics, I can only conclude that the Russians only rate at about an Elementary School Societal Level in America.  This comes from spending about 4 years in russia: working, shopping, living in appartments of a few neighborhoods around moscow, becoming/being part of the society, raising a young child there.  This includes that I actively worked in a few supposedly professional job environments. 

Keep note, that in my 4 years living there, probably having discussions and/or atleast relating to maybe 50 people on workdays on the trains(metros), shopping, busses,etc - (do the math) probably related to about 52000 people.  I saw no EXCEPTIONS to these Behaviors.  NO russians showed any sense of Higher Sociological Behavior than an American Elementary School Level !

The perspective (always) that I get is that the people do not respect others.  For example, people will usually wait in a line in Moscow, but only 50/50 in most other lesser cities - be prepared often to be in a mob of people shoving and fighting to get into a building or buy something at outside markets.  While people pushing into lines are ignored - and Nobody stands up for others.  It seems that people only wait in lines to follow rules - it is not for Politeness - everybody still pushes and shoves at the same time while waiting in line. 

Of course, entering ALL trains in russia (including Moscow) is ALWAYS a mob of people shoving to get on.  I even saw a baby get shoved and dropped between the Train and Platform because of this - And No 'Sorry' or Help from ANYBODY for this baby - even in this worst case scenario that had happened. 

Also they can not learn to improve (on all levels).  People will not correct a negative facet of their personality, or in any way acknowledge it to anybody - including themselves.  The closest is an Animalistic way of blindly following example out of view - no discussion or sharing ideas - nor thinking about it - only like a baby copying somebody else's actions. 

The society has no capability of development (like in schools) and no ingenuity in developing technology.  The Moscow Silicon Valley Skolkovo was an obvious attempt to engulf technology and development from the rest of the world.  But still seems to be a failure anyway.

And, nobody seems capable of discussing new ideas.  Everybody is to worried that it would affect their own ideas - and this would infringe on their stuborness.  See below for viewpoint of russian discussions. 

 < A GENIUS IN ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IS CONSIDERED A GENIUS - IN RUSSIA A GENIUS/INVENTOR IS CONSIDERED ONLY CRAZY - the standard and normal russian saying and viewpoint.

This is the normal and standard perspective of most people and population to inventors in russia. 

In having discussions with Russian People (even in America - try it yourself), they only take things literally - they can not visualize or imagine a 'theoretical' viewpoint - it is too hard or they don't want to.  Most russian people are very stubborn - even to the point of discussions - they refuse to imagine other peoples' ideas (under fear that it would conflict with their own idea).  This would very well explain the lack in all of innovation and invention and advancement in russia. 

I had many an argument or indifference or refusing to see (even at professional work), when I tried to have a 'What If ..' discussion.  I was not even discusing politics or anything personnal - just a new idea.

 As I said, the russian people only seem to talk in the literal - as if everything is fact/fiction or real/not or right/wrong or mine/yours.  There seemed to be no discussion capability or concept in the people to discuss possibilities - or imagine - it seemed to not be part of the language or capability of even thinking about it in russia.  Russians just wanted to hear a fact or yes/no or statement or action ... etc.  Theoretical seems to not be in their capability. 

* TECHNOLOGY.

Technology is all mass imported - like an attempt at catching up with the world  by buying the latest TVs and DVD Players and New Cars !

Mcds is considered prize restaurant there - BLECH !

Society in rus rates at about american 20's with  the mobsters.

* STANDING UP WITH FELLOW WORKER(S)

This has absolutely no concept in russia.  Russian workers (as everybody) only protect themselves.  Fellow workers will spy on you (and everybody else) - and report ALL info back to management.  This is the standard everywhere in russia.  Nobody cares about anybody else's problems - all complaints just go up to management as negatives to the one who stated the complaints. 

Management will even offer bonusses (or cut pay then offer makeup) - ONLY if you agree to spy on others. 

I faced this problem time and time again while working - and heard of it everywhere else.  I even had the problem of a few different people (outside our group) were directly hindering the progress of the workers in my group.  we complained many times to management - but the problem was never faced - and probably ended up harming our work environment instead. 

The overall work system is based upon the idea - of undermining ANY unity between the workers.  The peon system is still quite the standard in russia even today. 

* HELPING FELLOW MAN.

Russian people will Not help others - including their own people.  I have seen this a number of times.  50 or more people just casually glancing at a bleeding person (who was mugged) on the ground.  Nobody helped him.  Nobody wanted to.  Or a baby falling between a train and the platform - no Help or even aknowledgment from anybody. 

I NEVER saw any russian help another russian (or any person) on the ground or hurt or bleeding or help old lady, etc - in my 4 years in the society.  Only I myself did this. 

Many a time that I helped an old lady - or told people standing at the front of the bus - so that others did not have to stand on the bus stairs or next to the windshield (commonly 6 people often had to do this).  The society gave me a feeling that I was odd or wrong or should not do these things.  Of course, the old later was always intensely surpised or happy that somebody helped her on the bus or across the street.  But in the end, I also had to keep quiet about such things, trying not to be obtrusive in the society - which hindered me. 

Also, russians are quick to argue (and fight) - so be ready for somebody to punch you in the face if you disagree with them.  There is no heavy criminal justice in russia - only a light fine.  Don't expect the authorities (or people) to be of any help either. 

Best comparison that I can say is 'Lord Of the Flies'.

lostam7
lostam7

People need to understand, that the Orthadox Church is run by the Gov nowadays.  This is the gov's pressure against anti-gov protests.  The Orthodox Church presents NO Religious viewpoints to the people nowadays.  Churches in russia are only symbols.

As an open-minded American spending about 4 years living in russia, observing and studying russian society and culture, I want to present my viewpoints.  I hope this provides some insight to anybody intending to spend anytime over in russia.  And, hopefully avoid any problems that could arise. 

Don't expect that any american ideals will be of any use in russia - the people are stubborn to the extreme not to change - and have no concept of a 'good' society (see 'Stubborn to be Stupid' below). 

 < STUBBORN TO BE STUPID

Russians can and will not listen or learn new ideas - such as to improve themselves.  They are too proud and stubborn - that they prefer keeping stupid ways - just because they refuse to change.  ..And yes, I have heard many a russian say - that they would prefer just being 'stupid' than changing - QED. 

This stubborn trait seems to be a builtin instinct - like they are born with it.  I have seen this in ALL russians that I have met in the country in the 4 years that I have been here - in moscow and in other cities. 

People will jam up at the front of a bus because they want to be in the front of the bus - leaving many people jammed on the entry steps (like 5-7 people).  I have had many an argument trying to get peple to move to the empty middle and back of the bus.

I have even seen on the Train, people rarely slide over to allow a family to sit down.  They might give up a seat for a child - but they don't think far ahead enough to just slide over 1 seat and allow both parents to sit down with the child. 

Peons and Robots - Like an ant nest - you lift up a rock and remove the queen ant - the ants will run around for a few days - defending and running their now useless nest - because they do not know better on how to fix it.  Russian people do not seem to have any understanding of what-makes or how-to-build a society - they just stubbornly follow the broken system - and insist that what they have will always work. 

 * DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.

Russians have no concept of this idea.  Russians follow a minimal set of rules in society - it seems because of a fear of getting in trouble. 

 * IDEAS OF GOOD AND BAD.

I have seen none of this in any people older than in the 20's.  I have seen some people in the young generation, that have only a naive concept of this.  They sometimes try to be nice, but they can not extend it beyond the immediate situation. 

Level of Society in Russia (Moscow supposedly they call the center and best of their country) is no better than American Elementary School Level.

TABLE COMPARISON OF MY FINDINGS :

Societal Ethic : | Russian Society : |  American Elementary School : | American High School : | Normal American Society : |

Stand up for Others to Improve Society |  NO  |  NO  | NO  |  YES |

Feeling of how Actions Affect Other People | NO | NO | NO | YES |

Build/Improve Society for total Good | NO | NO | YES | YES |

Common  Politenesses | NO (only as Rules -see below) | NO | YES | YES |

Learn/Copy Self Improvement from Others | NO | YES | YES | YES |

Follow Rules from Penalty of Punishment  | YES | YES | YES | YES |

So from comparing these commonly known traits of Societal Ethics, I can only conclude that the Russians only rate at about an Elementary School Societal Level in America.  This comes from spending about 4 years in russia: working, shopping, living in appartments of a few neighborhoods around moscow, becoming/being part of the society, raising a young child there.  This includes that I actively worked in a few supposedly professional job environments. 

Keep note, that in my 4 years, probably having discussions and/or atleast relating to maybe 50 people on workdays on the trains(metros), shopping, busses,etc - (do the math) probably related to about 52000 people.  I saw no EXCEPTIONS to these Behaviors.  NO russians showed any sense of Higher Sociological Behavior than an American Elementary School Level !

The perspective (always) that I get is that the people do not respect others.  For example, people will usually wait in a line in Moscow, but only 50/50 in most other lesser cities - be prepared often to be in a mob of people shoving and fighting to get into a building or buy something at outside markets.  While people pushing into lines are ignored - and Nobody stands up for others.  It seems that people only wait in lines to follow rules - it is not for Politeness - everybody still pushes and shoves at the same time while waiting in line. 

Of course, entering ALL trains in russia (including Moscow) is ALWAYS a mob of people shoving to get on.  I even saw a baby get shoved and dropped between the Train and Platform because of this - And No 'Sorry' or Help from ANYBODY for this baby - even in this worst case scenario that had happened. 

Also they can not learn to improve (on all levels).  People will not correct a negative facet of their personality, or in any way acknowledge it to anybody - including themselves.  The closest is an Animalistic way of blindly following example out of view - no discussion or sharing ideas - nor thinking about it - only like a baby copying somebody else's actions. 

The society has no capability of development (like in schools) and no ingenuity in developing technology.  The Moscow Silicon Valley Skolkovo was an obvious attempt to engulf technology and development from the rest of the world.  But still seems to be a failure anyway.

And, nobody seems capable of discussing new ideas.  Everybody is to worried that it would affect their own ideas - and this would infringe on their stuborness.  See below for viewpoint of russian discussions. 

 < A GENIUS IN ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IS CONSIDERED A GENIUS - IN RUSSIA A GENIUS/INVENTOR IS CONSIDERED ONLY CRAZY - the standard and normal russian saying and viewpoint.

This is the normal and standard perspective of most people and population to inventors in russia. 

In having discussions with Russian People (even in America - try it yourself), they only take things literally - they can not visualize or imagine a 'theoretical' viewpoint - it is too hard or they don't want to.  Most russian people are very stubborn - even to the point of discussions - they refuse to imagine other peoples' ideas (under fear that it would conflict with their own idea).  This would very well explain the lack in all of innovation and invention and advancement in russia. 

I had many an argument or indifference or refusing to see (even at professional work), when I tried to have a 'What If ..' discussion.  I was not even discusing politics or anything personnal - just a new idea. 

As I said, the russian people only seem to talk in the literal - as if everything is fact/fiction or real/not or right/wrong or mine/yours.  There seemed to be no discussion capability or concept in the people to discuss possibilities - or imagine - it seemed to not be part of the language or capability of even thinking about it in russia.  Russians just wanted to hear a fact or yes/no or statement or action ... etc.  Theoretical seems to not be in their capability. 

* STANDING UP WITH FELLOW WORKER(S)

This has absolutely no concept in russia.  Russian workers (as everybody) only protect themselves.  Fellow workers will spy on you (and everybody else) - and report ALL info back to management.  This is the standard everywhere in russia.  Nobody cares about anybody else's problems - all complaints just go up to management as negatives to the one who stated the complaints. 

Management will even offer bonusses (or cut pay then offer makeup) - ONLY if you agree to spy on others. 

I faced this problem time and time again while working - and heard of it everywhere else.  I even had the problem of a few different people (outside our group) were directly hindering the progress of the workers in my group.  we complained many times to management - but the problem was never faced - and probably ended up harming our work environment instead. 

The overall work system is based upon the idea - of undermining ANY unity between the workers.  The peon system is still quite the standard in russia even today. 

* HELPING FELLOW MAN.

Russian people will Not help others - including their own people.  I have seen this a number of times.  50 or more people just casually glancing at a bleeding person (who was mugged) on the ground.  Nobody helped him.  Nobody wanted to.  Or a baby falling between a train and the platform - no Help or even aknowledgment from anybody. 

I NEVER saw any russian help another russian (or any person) on the ground or hurt or bleeding or help old lady, etc - in my 4 years in the society.  Only I myself did this. 

Many a time that I helped an old lady - or told people standing at the front of the bus - so that others did not have to stand on the bus stairs or next to the windshield (commonly 6 people often had to do this).  The society gave me a feeling that I was odd or wrong or should not do these things.  Of course, the old later was always intensely surpised or happy that somebody helped her on the bus or across the street.  But in the end, I also had to keep quiet about such things, trying not to be obtrusive in the society - which hindered me. 

Also, russians are quick to argue (and fight) - so be ready for somebody to punch you in the face if you disagree with them.  There is no heavy criminal justice in russia - only a light fine.  Don't expect the authorities (or people) to be of any help either. 

Best comparison that I can say is 'Lord Of the Flies'.

note: I tried offering a deeper descriptive article of explaining my 4 years of life in russia - but I have not received any reply from them.  I do not know why ...?

jimmy kraktov
jimmy kraktov

Insecurity is a common trait with bullies. Having these girls arrested shows that Putin sees them as a threat, and that he's an insecure bully.

Real men don't feel threatened by a few little girls.

Italian_Translations_Company
Italian_Translations_Company

The Russian government of Mr. Putin is constantly on the wrong side of history, from supporting Syria's murderous regime to jailing political dissenters. Shame on you, and your KGB methods!

namecnassianer
namecnassianer

Trying to suppress protest has only given the protesters much greater exposure, and now on an international platform, el oh el.

Go Pussies!

SquidEatinDough
SquidEatinDough

Pussy Riot is bad assed. And I'm heartened by the other artists who support these women. For awhile there, I forgot that not every one in "the music industry" is an insufferable P.O.S. And seeing Tobi Vail mentioned... Man, if only Kurt was still here to add to the support. Punk's not dead!

Peter Evgenev
Peter Evgenev

I hope my previous message makes it through somehow, so you can make sense out of this one. I'll get back to this in a few hours...

Peter Evgenev
Peter Evgenev

Oh, sorry, did I forget to mention the little freedomfighter was on all fours having sex on her 9th month of pregnancy? You know, I'm extremely unhappy with what's going on in my country, with the bogus court trial that is happening right now, but I would prefer to not have my freedoms fought for this way, if you could kindly forgive me, because it makes a mockery of all the people who fell victim of the regime, our children having no future here, a spit in a face, if not treason...

SquidEatinDough
SquidEatinDough

""Oh, sorry, did I forget to mention the little freedomfighter was on all fours having sex on her 9th month of pregnancy?"You mean one of these Pussy Riot women? And that matters because...? Is having doggystyle sex while pregnant against the Russian Jeebus or something?

Peter Evgenev
Peter Evgenev

Dear friends, just a bit of an alternative view on the issue. The whole scandal around Pussy riot may very well have been financed by Kremlin to divert the protest from having our constitution being blatantly spat on by Putin's return, it very much served their interest. Well, you may call me a crazy conspiracy theorist, but there is one thing I can tell you that is beyond any doubt - the ladies are not musicians at all, no albums, no gigs, just politically charged provocations that are worth getting a look at before clapping your hands for the poor little freedom fighters. Did you see one of them having sex in a biological museum doggystyle, nine months pregnant? Well it's a fact and there were a number of other quite unpleasant things you'd learn if you'd take a closer look. I'm all for setting them free and all, friends, but it is not as simple, as they try to sell it to you. Noone in Russia complains about the elections anymore, cause bitching about the greedy kgb-ridden orthodox church elite is easier and safer.

Gary McCray
Gary McCray

Gee, rigged elections, using the government to silence and oppress protesters.

Is the Soviet back, sounds like.

Of course it kind of sounds like home too.

LoudRambler
LoudRambler

 Essentially, this whole ordeal show that temporary economic growth cannot replace an independent judicial branch or a working democracy.

 I have to correct the author: as such, altars are not reserved for male priests (guess who washes the floor there); and, as such, a host of people can appear at the altar, from newlyweds to families baptizing their kids.

 It is normally off limits during the service (kinda like altars are in other old churches), but there is nothing in the canon that would preclude a woman from there. 

 In fact, a video of a female dancing collective performing (at a sanctioned event) at the very same place in the very same church made rounds on YouTube.

Pauline Houston
Pauline Houston

I was not referring to what the 'ladies' did, but rather what the officials have been doing quite publicly and regularly...ChangeLife5.blogspot.com

zocolofishing
zocolofishing

>>'the Russian people haven’t before seen'...?

You mean they have forgotten.  This type of thing has played out before, and played out many times.  In communist times, and it is the name of the game now.  Just read what is happening to some 200,000 Jehovah's Witnesses, or those of the Muslim faith in the Country.  See the forum18 site.  Anybody that is not Eastern Orthodox.

LoudRambler
LoudRambler

 They weren't quite as public or as high profile or as in-your-face, though.

zocolofishing
zocolofishing

The sentence I cited was this one: "“The Russian government has gone and arrested an idea and is prosecuting through the courts with a vindictiveness the Russian people haven’t before seen.”.  I was not referring to what the 'ladies' did, but rather what the officials have been doing quite publicly and regularly.  Or do you mean that the other cases are not high profile enough to be noticed by enough people?