Pussy Riot Takes Aim at Trump and Putin in New Song

Pussy Riot Takes Aim at Trump and Putin in New Song


“Big smile for the camera,” begins a barbed new song from the dissident Russian band Pussy Riot about state surveillance and police brutality.

“Police State” by Pussy Riot. Video by wearepussyriot

Released on Wednesday, the video for “Police State” shows three children in pastel-colored masks — a Pussy Riot trademark — who are being forced to watch looped videos of President Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia shaking hands. A booted and uniformed Chloë Sevigny tosses children’s stuffed animals into a fire, and crushes others with a police baton. A ballerina blithely pirouettes in the background as lyrics proclaim: “No problems in paradise/We’ll lock them up.”

Pussy Riot gained widespread attention in 2012 after three of its members were charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for staging an anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior. In the video for “Police State,” the band’s members also wear ski masks, which have the added benefit of conferring anonymity: The group’s membership is rotating and sometimes obscure.

Only one member of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, is clearly identifiable in the video. She said in a telephone interview from Berlin on Thursday that other members of the group needed to remain anonymous for their protection.

Ms. Tolokonnikova said she hoped the video would highlight “how difficult and dangerous it is for political activists to spread new information.” She added, “We’ve been attacked several times and people around us have been attacked and even killed — killed just because of political participation.”

The video was released a year after Mr. Trump’s presidential victory. Ms. Tolokonnikova called it a “sad anniversary,” adding “lots of people in the United States decided to choose this not-very-smart and pro-authoritarian person who is attacking women’s rights, trans rights and independent press.” She said Mr. Trump “treats critics as treasonous which is the first sign of being an authoritarian leader.”

Ms. Tolokonnikova lives in Moscow, where she assumes, she said, that she is under surveillance, but “I’m not anything special in this regard. Every person who decides to be politically involved, they are under surveillance in Russia.” She said it was “something you get used to.”

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