Pussy Riot Case: LGBT community vs. Russian Orthodox Church?
ValdaiClub.com interview with Alexei Mukhin, President of the Center for Political Information and author of more than 100 scientific papers.
What do you think about what Pussy Riot does? Is it possible to achieve anything in this way?
It is still too early to speak about what Pussy Riot does, because the group is still developing its image and it is unclear what will come of it. What they do can hardly be called art, though some people consider it art. Art survives the time and we can show it to our children. The members of this punk group apparently believe that what they do is art, but in reality they play to the basest instincts of the public in order to attract attention and pass off what they do as art.
They said their punk prayer was not prompted by religious motives and, therefore, they cannot be accused of inciting religious hatred. They claim their actions were political. However, I think what they did was performance art that exploited religion and that has nothing to do with politics. They only mentioned Vladimir Putin’s name to attract more public attention.
Every artist is essentially an exhibitionist. No wonder the members of Pussy Riot like to be the center of attention, and this is the driving force behind everything they do. None of their actions have anything to do with freedom or self-expression – they behave like hooligans to attract attention to themselves or the sponsor of this project, if there is one.
I suspect they were contracted to stage their recent action in the Christ the Savior Cathedral by the LGBT community, which is locked in a fierce struggle against the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church, in turn, had initiated a number of bills restricting the activities of the gay community in Russia.
Before their punk prayer, Pussy Riot staged performances in public places but managed to avoid being charged with any serious criminal or administrative offences. Is their current trial a testament to the Church’s increased influence not only in religious life but also the political and public life of the country?
The Church has indeed interfered in public and political processes lately. By so doing it has attracted the attention of groups that seek political gain by discrediting the Moscow Patriarchate. Regrettably, the Pussy Riot saga is one such case. The Church is taking the bait and allowing these groups to score political points at its expense.
The Church’s unwise actions and its inability to think several moves ahead have led to this scandal over Pussy Riot, which is now being discussed in public and political circles of the world’s leading countries.
What punishment do you think they deserve?
I share the opinion of Ivan Okhlobystin, an actor and priest in the Russian Orthodox Church. As this scandal started unfolding, he said that these girls should be given a good spanking, be forgiven and let go. I can’t do any better than this succinct formula.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.