Home Page > News Item > RUSSIA – Pussy Riot: Punk Moleben – put Putin away

24 May 2012

Black robe, golden epaulettes/All parishioners crawl and bow/The phantom of liberty is in heaven/Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains

Today, 24 May, three members of the Russian Punk band, Pussy Riot, will have been detained for over eleven weeks, and will not be freed for at least another month, although the signs are that they are likely to be held much longer. They are charged with “hooliganism” for an unauthorised “flash” performance of the band’s Punk Moleben (Prayer) at Cathedral of the Christ the Saviour, in Moscow on 21 February. This is an extraordinarily long time to be held in detention without trial, particularly for an act which did not involve violence or endanger others. It is a direct breach international standards that guarantee prompt trial. Maria Alyokhina, Ekaterina Samusevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are being treated particularly severely because of the lyrics of the song which are a harsh condemnation of the then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Orthodox Church. For more on the case see our April alert. (http://www.pen-international.org/newsitems/russia-pen-joins-calls-for-release-of-pussy-riot-band-members/)

To enable better understanding of the case, we are publishing a translation of the Punk Moleben and its context. It contains some explicit content. Thanks to freepussyriot.org for the translation and explanatory notes.

This is a punk rock ‘moleben’, a form of supplication or intercession prayer, in this case addressed to the Virgin Mary. See link following the translation that explains the significance of the intercession prayer for the Orthodox Church. Pussy Riot’s moleben is based on Rachmaninov’s Ave Maria – see second link to hear the score. The words to the Rachmaninov piece are: Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of God,/Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee:/blessed art thou among women,/and blessed is fruit of they womb/for thou has borne the saviour of our souls.

The Punk Moleben alternates verses in the style of traditional church choral singing and punk declamatory choruses with electric guitar background.

PUNK MOLEBEN – VIRGIN MARY PUT PUTIN AWAY

(chorus)
O Virgin Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away
(end chorus)


Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners crawl to bow
The phantom of liberty is in heaven
Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains


The head of the KGB, their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend His Holiness
Women must give birth and love

Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!
Shit, shit, the Lord’s shit!


(chorus)
O Virgin Mother of God, become a feminist
Become a feminist, become a feminist
(end chorus)

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class – bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, better believe in God instead
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings
Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!

(Chorus)
O Virgin Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away
(end chorus)

About the significance of intercession prayer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moleben

Link to the video of Pussy Riot performing the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bPH7rdeWSE

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