Pussy Riot: What is all this fuss about?

  • 2012-08-22
  • By Michel Verlaine

Sometimes people exhibit this strange psychological tendency, that when faced with problems, they tend to elude them by finding issues somewhere else. At a more collective level, this seems to be the case with Europe and, eventually, Western society in general. Indeed, the European Union probably faces one of its deepest crises since its creation.

Recently, economic advisors, incognito, in The Economist wrote an open letter to Angela Merkel suggesting that some countries should eventually leave the eurozone. It is clear that some Geopolitical shifts are under way. Europe not only faces political and economic crises, but also a “fertility” crises as most European women give birth to less than two children. Europe is dying out, but giving lectures! On security issues as well, the European achievement is not very impressive. According to the International Herald Tribune, the U.S. is worried by potential terrorist activities in Europe by Hezbollah. Basically, Europeans are doves and as the crises shows, there is no European leadership!  

Yet, quite a lot of European and “Western” commentators and journalists have found something apparently important to comment on, namely the “Pussy Riot” issue and court verdict, as they were sentenced to two years in a penal colony. Let’s focus on the group. For a normally constituted human being, the name of this punk group seems stupid and insulting. Probably, some of the protagonists are barely aware of the activities of “Pussy Riot.” The background facts are the following. On Feb. 21, 2012, 3 young disguised women intruded into the Moscow Christ-Savior Cathedral and starting to sing, with insulting and stupid preaching. Some sentences sound like this: “Holy Mother Mary, mother of God, become a feminist,” or much better, “Shit, Shit, Shit of God.” Some sentences were directed against Putin and the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church, the latter being accused of believing more in Putin than in God.

Following the insulting songs, the women were put into preventive detention. Even though the sentences and the behavior seemed rather vulgar and disturbing, foreign commentators found some cause to fight for. Incidentally, it turns out to be easier to babble about the “Pussy Riot” case than discuss the eurozone or European policy problems.

But let’s elaborate a little bit more, as there might be some interesting, unknown information. Amongst others, details can be found that the Pussy Riot group was created in 2011 in order to promote political and sexual emancipation. One of the three inculpated women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is, incidentally, an active militant of LGBT (Lesbians, Gays, bisexuals and transgender). The group is well-known in Russia, not for its intellectual and political positions but for its disrespect of public order. Besides, the group is affiliated with the anarchist group called “Voina,” which means war! The latter group is known for its subversive activities, again rather in terms of public order rather than in terms of intellectual value-added. Amongst others, they organized sexual orgies with pregnant women, masturbation in a shop with a piece of chicken, urinated on policemen, destruction of police vehicles… Some of their feats can be watched on Youtube and on the site of the French journalist Alexandre Latsa.

One thing seems to be evident here. “Pussy Riot” is not an intellectual movement, as some seem to claim, unless making a lot of noise and disturbing society is a type of emerging intellectual! Sometimes one has this impression, still, as some pseudo-intellectuals support society disturbers more than writers that don’t agree with their vision of society.

One can certainly discuss the fact that the punishment might be too harsh. We can agree with this claim, but many commentators might not be aware of the laws in their respective countries. In some European countries, also, individuals having violated public places of culture, might face harsh punishments, of up to a few years of jail. In some cases the law is not adapted to the evolution of society, but it is strange that nobody cares about the other millions of people that face harsh judgments because the law is not adapted to their situation and the culture of the society.

In reality, there is a much deeper problem here. Following the ‘60s, European and Western politics has become more and more influenced by left-wing Flower Power ideas. As economic growth was rather sustainable, mostly the left-wing activists and minorities had an agenda and gained overwhelming power. Their agenda has fed into the law-making process and led to a disconnection between the population and the political decision making system. The result of 30 years of the left-wing Flower Power agenda is noticeable and less than impressive: to make things simple, we have an economic well-being based on credit and debt, and no children to finance the pension system. Let’s hope that the future generation of policy-makers will solve the problems of their respective countries rather than connive with pseudo-intellectuals to make themselves feel important by hypocritically evaluating other countries’ legal systems.

Dr. Michel Verlaine is an associate professor of finance, ICN Business School and founder of CAPM-Consulting.