The Russian punk heroines descend upon Liverpool this summer, Alan Parry reports. 

Pussy Riot are hitting Liverpool’s Arts Club this summer.

Few contemporary bands can rightfully claim to possess the true spirit of punk, but these Russian rebels demonstrate it in abundance.

Bound together by their opposition to the Putin regime, their feminist perspective, and their support for LGBT rights, the band have made the front pages in recent years for a whole host of reasons, and are simply impossible to ignore.

It has been reported that the band have stated that unsanctioned rallies – illegal in their homeland – are one of their core principles, purely because of the media attention that they often draw.

And so, it was of little surprise when the band hit the headlines in 2012 following an unsanctioned gig at Moscow Cathedral.

Three band members were arrested and held without bail, initially on counts of hooliganism. The three detainees – Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich – would go on to be declared political prisoners and would commence a hunger strike by a way of protesting the severity of their treatment.

The trial would take place that summer, and the band members were charged with ‘premeditated hooliganism performed by an organised group of people motivated by religious hatred or hostility’, which resulted in custodial sentences.

But their devotion to their cause refused to be dampened.

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The finer details of the case have been much publicised, and consequently their political position has been strengthened, and given an increasingly large platform.

Although the support of the people in their own country was not wholly forthcoming at the time, internationally things were very different. Public figures such as Yoko Ono and Hilary Clinton have lent their support to the women, who are now perhaps, less members of a group, more members of a radical, left-wing, anti-capitalist, pro-feminist movement.

It is interesting to think about the purpose of art, and how it makes the art itself carry more weight.

Art which makes you think and gives you agency will last longer, transcend barriers and borders, and is deserving of special attention.

Undoubtedly there have been better bands, but few can claim to have spoken with such conviction and backed that up with similarly striking actions.

The music itself is proud, the message it carries is clear, and the women are independently strong and collectively united.

Liverpool welcomes you with open arms!

Pussy Riot play Arts Club, Liverpool on Wednesday 22nd August 2018. Tickets are available now.

Image: artist’s Facebook page