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pussy riot just released a dark environmental protest song

Complete with an open letter to Putin.

by Frankie Dunn
|
09 July 2019, 11:58pm

Photography @kkaypi

Russian activists, artists and musicians Pussy Riot are no strangers to protest. Since being arrested for their punk prayer in a Moscow church in 2012, they've evolved from a band into a movement on an endless crusade against injustice in Russia and beyond. There have been performances at Banksy’s Dismaland, immersive theatre pieces at the Saatchi Gallery and music videos that have tackled everything from the police state, Donald Trump, to LGBT+ rights and the refugee crisis.

Now they're back at it again with another impactful release, and they’ve shifted their attention to our impending ecological disaster. Black Snow is Nadya Tolokonnikova and her collaborators reacting to an environmental catastrophe they’ve experienced first hand, set to a trap track that turns full on metal after a breakdown. Directed by Nadya, the video sees them performing in the bleak landscape of her Norilsk hometown -- dubbed “the most polluted place in Russia” -- wearing gas masks and their signature balaclavas.

But make sure you pay attention to the lyrics. “The acid rain hasn't fucking stopped since last year,” they sing in Russian, “My eyes are being corroded... a blizzard's burning out my air, we're buried in ash”. The song goes on to say "e're a nuclear planet, we've dominated nature but we're slaves to the internet. I'm marching in ranks and quietly crying about it”.

The toxic black snow in question made headlines earlier this year, when it fell over coal mining regions of Siberia and left the area in a post-apocalyptic state. In February, The Guardian reported that “the coal dust that turns the snow black in the Kuzbass comes from numerous open pit mines that environmental activists say have had disastrous consequences for the health of the region’s 2.6 million people, with life expectancy three to four years lower than Russia’s national average of 66 for men and 77 for women”. They also reported that “cancer, child cerebral palsy and tuberculous rates in the Kuzbass region are all above the national average”.

To accompany the release, Nadya has written an open letter to Putin in which she tells him: “When you go outside in Norilsk, you have to wrap yourself up in [a] scarf -- not just because of the blizzards, but because the sulfur dioxide burns your eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs. When combined with water, sulfur dioxide turns into sulfuric acid. If Taiga Larches get necrosis from the acid, what do you think is happening to your precious little alveoli? Nobody the hell knows.”

Read Nadya’s full letter here.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.