GUERILLA RADIO. THIS IS WHAT OUR CHAT WITH PUSSY RIOT FELT LIKE.

Pussy Riot is a group of political agitators. They are experimental musicians; they are protest musicians. Members of Pussy Riot have been arrested for their performances, and are considered to be political adversaries by the Russian state and its dictator Vladimir Putin. They are not looking to capitalize on media opportunities to promote their work. This is not a regular group. So this talk that we were so lucky to have had to be sincere. We offered to have a casual conversation with them. They respected that and agreed.

Pussy Riot is considered to be a feminist punk rock group, formed in Moscow in 2011. They gained international notoriety when they staged a performance inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on February 21, 2012. The Russian Orthodox Church condemned it as sacrilegious. The group was protesting against the Orthodox Church’s support for Vladamir Putin, Russia’s autocratic president who has been denounced for his human rights violations and annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula.

The three original members of Pussy Riot, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Maria Alyokhina were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for this performance. Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova have since left Pussy Riot.

The interview was improvised; the setting was impromptu, consisting of a laptop and microphones in a stairwell next to the University of Adelaide’s Unibar. Conversation was natural. In the discussion we heard anecdotes that humanized a group that has been shrouded in so much controversy as well as deemed criminals by the regimes that they challenge.

Maria, alluded to the possibility of facing punishment for returning to Russia, her home country she has been banned from leaving.

Sasha, touched on the deep, ruminating type of thinking that Russian people are inclined to do.

They are people that have so much to say, and in that moment a casual conversation opened up a rich political and social discourse.

Their performance was part of the Adelaide Fringe and its collaborator The Royal Croquet Club, which was based at the University of Adelaide. They brought their variety of performances and interchangeable roster of group members as well as an onstage performance by Indigenous Australian protest rock group Yothu Yindi.

This interview started at 3 am with an uninhibited Pussy Riot. Call it the Rock and Roll spirit.

Hear the interview below:

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