An anti-Putin stunt by an all-female punk band in Russia’s national cathedral has created a virtually unprecedented rift between Russian believers, torn between a group of young performers now facing a multi-year sentence, and the top echelons of the Orthodox Church, perceived by many as hypocritical and allied rather too closely with the Kremlin.
On February 21, Pussy Riot, a radical group of female performers, sang and screamed what they called a “punk prayer” inside the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, with lyrics that said, among other things, “Virgin Mary, get rid of Putin!” Further, they accused the Patriarch of a lavish lifestyle and connections with the KGB.
While initially the group’s performance was mostly dismissed as silly and disrespectful, things became suddenly more serious when two of the alleged band members, both mothers and only 22 and 23 years old, were apprehended by several armed FSB officers and thrown into jail. A third alleged member was picked up several days later.
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