If you are not familiar with A Punk Prayer
or perhaps we should call it Богородица, Путина прогони
, here is a quick résumé
. The furore was followed by outrage in the Western media which saw the Draconian sentences handed down to a group of daffy young women as a violation of their human rights and all that jazz. However, take a deeper look and you will realise these are not such sweet young things at all.
The interviews in this BBC documentary
are in Russian, but it seems unlikely the following was lost in translation.
"We're not gonna kill anyone" says one masked activist/"band" member, "We use peaceful methods".
Which does not reconcile easily with such drivel as Ubey Seksista
translating as Kill The Sexist
. And then there are these edifying lyrics:
"Kill all sexists,
Kill all conformists,
Kill all Putenites".
The documentary includes footage of the "band" both rehearsing and performing months before the cathedral outrage as well as interviews with not entirely disapproving parents. The father of one band member even helped out writing A Punk Prayer
's unedifying chorus.
The outrage of ordinary Russians is genuine, especially the faithful. It is of course not the invasion of the cathedral that was the problem but the symbolism of it. If that escapes you, think of someone burning a copy of a Qur'an
. Or worse.
Vladimir Putin is shown talking to Russian television about the incident, wherein he took the position of defender of the faith, more like an archbishop than Henry VIII.
The father of gaoled member Nadezhda Andreyevna Tolokonnikova has some rather forthright views. In February 2008, his daughter was involved in what might be called an orgy at the Timiryazev State Biology Museum in Moscow. The cameras were invited. He said he didn't approve because he is her father, but if it were any other Russian girl, he would watch. Lucky Nadia to have a Daddy like that. In court she apologised glibly saying they never meant to offend anyone, a claim that deserves nothing but contempt. Her co-defendants were no more sincere and every bit as unconvincing.
Their lawyer can't have helped when in addressing the court he concluded his defiant address with the claim that nothing had changed since Soviet times. As none of the defendants was shot in the back of the neck or sent to a labour camp in Siberia, that is probably something of an exaggeration. The sentences here may have been disproportionate but they were mild in comparison, and this was not a show trial.