Pussy Riot Protests Through “Make America Great Again” ​Viral Video

With two weeks until the US Election, Russian punk band Pussy Riot sparked controversy through a viral video entitled “Make America Great Again” protesting the comments of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In the beginning of the month, there was a video released showing Trump using offensive vocabulary when talking about women. The band clearly alludes to the video when singing “Grab them by the pussy,” an expression that became the mark of the scandal.Pussy Riot member, Nadya Tolokonnikova, said, “…Trump’s words are not just words.Those words lead to violence.”

​The single, however, does not represent the group’s support to Hillary Clinton, who as far-Left supporters were on Bernie Sanders’ side for the Democratic candidate. “Let’s just say his policies appealed to me more,” Nadya told TIME. “But it’s not good to talk about that now. It’s a harmful conversation. Their wish is to make a strong presentation against Donald Trump.”
The video released on Thursday was
not as radical as Pussy Riot’s previous
productions and their own political belief.
“Of course we wanted to just say,
​‘F—k Trump” Tolokonnikova told TIME, “But
we didn’t do that. We wanted to get our
message across to people who might
not be as aesthetically radical as we are
​at Pussy Riot.”

Apart from this critique, Nadya also raised other polemical issues that marked Trump’s electoral campaign. The lyrics to the song highlight pressing issues in the world including Mexico, Syria, Palestine, African-American lives, and the status of women, even torture and killing.

The viral video was intended to be graphic. It was to
highlight the implications of Trump’s words. His words imply real-world consequences. There were previous videos such as “Organs” and “Straight Outta Vagina”.

These sparked controversy and discussion for the public and the fan-base of Pussy Riot. Organs was based on government oppression and women’s sexuality. Straight Outta Vagina was themed on women’s empowerment in general.

These songs are part of a consistent tradition by the punk rock group to protest what they see as injustices against women and government oppression. Their protests can have negative consequences for them.

They are known for being a feminist punk rock music group, protesting and opposition to Vladimir Putin (who they compared Trump to in Make America Great Again), and advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights.

In fact, these are not the first time Pussy Riot tried to shake things in the political scenario before meaningful elections. In 2012, two members of the group, Nadya herself and Maria Alyokhin, were arrested because of a public anti-Putin protest in Moscow. It was one day prior to the one that got him re-elected.

Putin has connections with the Russian Orthodox Church. Indeed, protests from Pussy Riot against Putin have been seen as attacks on the Russian Orthodox Church,according to The Guardian.

The members have fought back in legal cases. For example, in May, 2015, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, along with others, filed a suit to the European Court of Human Rights.

In the suit filed, they claimed there was police inaction in addition to the refraining from prosecution of Cossacks who had assaulted Pussy Riot in the midst of a video shoot. The video was for the Sochi Winter Olympics, and entitled “Putin Will teach You to Love the Motherland”.

In an earlier interview by Esquire, Pussy Riot lead singer, Nadya, said, “I wouldn’t say Russian society is misogynistic. Our country was one of the first to give women the right to vote, in 1917…So we have a good history of feminism and state-supported feminism.”

About Pamela Machado 4 Articles
Pamela is a blogger, student at The University of Westminster and is a budding journalist

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