'I fiercely don’t agree with them being put to jail because of their peaceful protest performance,' says singer
The Icelandic singer has posted a message on her website giving her backing to the group, who have been in detention since their arrest in March following an impromptu gig at Moscow’s Christ The Saviour Cathedral.
The case of the three detained members of the band – Nadia Tolokonikovoy, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich – has been seen as a watermark in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attempts to crack down on dissent in Russia. After singing a song called ‘Holy Shit’ as a protest against the Orthodox Christian church’s support for Putin, the trio have been standing trial for hooliganism charges, with prosecutors calling for them to face three years’ imprisonment.
Previously, musicians including Jarvis Cocker, Johnny Marr, Alex Kapranos, Kate Nash and a host of other artists signed a letter calling on Putin to release the three detained members of the band.
Bjork has now also voiced her support for the band and invited them to join her onstage in the future, writing on her website:
as a musician and a mother i would like to express i fiercely dont agree with them being put to jail because of their peaceful protest performance.
She added: “They are currently standing trial and facing seven years in prison for this… in my opinion the russian authorities should let them go home to their families and children… i would like to invite pussy riot to join me in a particular song on stage : which was written for all enhancement of justice ( you can guess : once , which one ).”
Earlier this week (August 9), Pussy Riot’s Nadia Tolokonikovoy claimed in court that it is the Russian government on trial, and not them. Speaking on the final day of their trial, she said: “This is a trial of the whole government system of Russia, which so likes to show its harshness toward the individual, its indifference to his honour and dignity… If this political system throws itself against three girls… it shows this political system is afraid of truth.”
The judge at the trial, which has been dubbed by their lawyers as “one of the most shameful in modern Russia”, set August 17 as the day she would deliver a verdict against the women.
Shortly before their arrest, members of Pussy Riot spoke to NME, calling Putin’s reaction to their church protest “childish”. “We knew what the political situation was but now we’re personally feeling the full force of Putin’s Kafka-esque machine,” they said. “The state’s policy is based on a minimum of critical thinking and on a maximum of spite, and a desire to get even with those who don’t please it.”
Don’t forget to check out Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos’ piece on Pussy Riot in this week’s issue of NME, which is on newsstands now or available digitally.