Arnon Grunberg



A rather nasty attack on “Pussy Riot” by Vadim Nikitin, a Russian journalist, in Tuesday’s Herald Tribune:

‘How many fans of Pussy Riot’s zany “punk prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s erudite and moving closing statement were equally thrilled by her participation, naked and heavily pregnant, in a public orgy at a Moscow museum in 2008? That performance, by the radical art group Voina (Russian for “war”), was meant to illustrate how Russians were abused by their government. Voina had previously set fire to a police car and drew obscene images on a St. Petersburg drawbridge.’


‘At the core of much of the media fever over Pussy Riot lies a fundamental misunderstanding of what these Russian dissidents are about. Some outlets have portrayed the case as a quest for freedom of expression and other ground rules of liberal democracy. Yet the very phrase “freedom of expression,” with its connotations of genteel protest as a civic way to blow off some steam while life goes on, is alien to Russian radical thought. The members of Pussy Riot are not liberals looking for self-expression. They are self-confessed descendants of the surrealists and the Russian futurists, determined to radically, even violently, change society.
Anyone who has bothered to see them beyond their relevance as anti-Kremlin proxies will know that these young people are as contemptuous of capitalism as they are of Putinism.’

(Read the complete article here.)

Unfortunately, I missed the public orgy at a Moscow Museum in 2008. Self-confessed descendants of the surrealists and Russian futurists, please invite me for the next public orgy, it doesn’t have to be in Moscow.

And to Mr. Vikitin I would like to say: This might come as a surprise to you, but people are entitled to be contemptuous of capitalism. A true capitalist would even applaud this contempt.

discuss on facebook, 3 comments