Advertisement

is this pussy riot’s most political video ever?

The punk collective revealed provocative visuals for Chaika, a track lambasting one of Russia’s bloodiest government cover-ups.

by Emily Manning
|
04 February 2016, 9:43am

Photography Denis Sinyakov

Since offering up the punk prayer that resulted in its members imprisonment, Pussy Riot have increasingly used their high profile platform to fight social injustice through public protest and blistering musical rallying cries. Before railing against the global refugee crisis during its closing night performance at Banksy's dystopian Dismaland, one of the Russian collective's core members -- Nadya Tolokonnikova -- staged a sewing machine demonstration in Moscow to shed light on the nation's inhumane prison labor conditions. Today, Pussy Riot unveils what might be its most compelling video yet, Chaika.

The hip-hop inflected track is inspired by "the biggest political story in Russia -- the recently uncovered bloody criminal connections and unbelievable corruption of Russia's top law enforcement official -- the General Prosecutor Yuri Chaika," the band explains in an emailed statement. A month ago, anti-corruption campaigner Alexey Navalny released an investigative film exposing the top law enforcement official's criminal ties, directly implicating Chaika in covering up his son's involvement in a bloody massacre in the town of Kushevskaya. Navalny's brother has been unjustly jailed for the pair's ongoing investigation, but the director bravely persists in his fight to expose top level corruption.

Inspired by Navalny's work, the Tolokonnikova and Andrey Fenochka-directed visual sees an unmasked Pussy Riot embodying these corrupt Russian officials. Dressed in uniforms, they gluttonously devour meals, torture prisoners by whipping and waterboarding them, all while making bird arm motions -- an allusion to Chaika's last name, which translates to "seagull." "Corruption is everywhere and Russians are getting sick of it," the band's statement explains, "but Putin uses government-controlled TV stations to convince people that the biggest threat to Russia is not the existence of Putin and officials like Chaika, but Western values." The song's sardonic lyrics are written from Chaika's personal point of view, and reinforce his murderous actions' "patriotism." "Live like a saint with holy simplicity / Don't eat too much, be humble when you shop," the crew rap while ripping into a whole chicken.

The fearless freedom fighters employ stylised sets and scathingly sarcastic lyrics to create an artful end product, but their ultimate message is simple and crystal clear: "Pussy Riot demands an immediate investigation against General Prosecutor Chaika and his family, as well as against all the top officials in his office," the statement concludes. "Pussy Riot hopes that people around the world will help us voice our outrage and turn Russia into a country where people like Chaika can no longer exist."

Credits


Text Emily Manning
Photography Denis Sinyakov