"Ukrainians are entitled to hate us"

By Philippe Schockweiler

Pussy Riot is a symbol of Russian protest and anti-Putinism. The band is a fortress of freedom, an unapologetic feminist band fighting for equality and democracy. Lëtzebuerger Journal writer Philippe Schockweiler shared the same backstage with Pussy Riot during the Journalismusfest in Innsbruck.

It’s almost 11 am, thunderous applause erupts with sparks of ecstasy as Pussy Riot finish their set. For around 90 minutes, the four artists, Maria "Masha" Alyokhina, Olga Borisova, Diana Burkot and Taso Pletner, gave their all on stage, and calling this a normal concert would be an understatement. Pussy Riot delivers a holistic experience: a punk performance, a political pamphlet and an artfully arranged documentary projection. A few minutes later, the four Russian artists are sitting backstage, coming down from the excitement and reflecting on their performance.

After her spectacular and daring escape from Russia in 2022, fleeing a decade of persecution and arbitrary arrest, the group’s founding member and leader, Maria Alyokhina or "Masha" as her friends call her, has returned to the stages in Europe and the Americas with the Pussy Riot collective. The band returns with a fiery show and are eager to showcase their loud dissenting voice, performing and campaigning, as their anger is fueled "by the growning fascism  in Russia and the bloody war Russia is raging in Ukraine".

Band of Sisters

Two of the band’s newer members are Olga Borisova and Diana Burkot: Diana is a musical sensation coming out of Moscow and has toured as a very talented drummer and solo artist the world over. Across from her sits Olga Borisova, a now London-based Russian activist and the new co-lead singer of the band. Olga is a very engaged, or as Agnès Varda would put it, an enraged feminist and activist. The newer band members are aware of the reach and the legacy that comes with the name Pussy Riot.

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