Russian political activists, Pussy Riot, dropped a new song and video on election day called, “Police State.” Images of President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin shaking hands appear on a wall of TV screens as child viewers appear to be brainwashed, watching through the eyeholes of their trademark pastel Pussy Riot ski masks, their heads strapped to their seats.
The video was released on what they say is the “sad anniversary” of Trump’s election.
our new video POLICE STATE is out
— Pussy Riot (@pussyrrriot) November 8, 2017
The song is surprisingly melodic, weaving the sounds of chimes and a chorus of voices into the lyrics,:
“Big smile for the camera / It’s always on.”
The imagery of police brutality intermixed with child onlookers and a dancing ballerina is disturbing and conveys a feeling of innocence and freedom crushed by authoritarian rule.
“No problems in paradise / We’ll lock them up.”
American actress, fashion designer, director, and former model, Chloë Sevigny, makes a surprise cameo as one of the police in the video.
Below, she appears with Pussy Riot founding member, Nadya Tolokonnikova. Only she reveals herself in the video. The New York Times reported:
“Other members of the group needed to remain anonymous for their protection.”
not all cops are bastards, apparently pic.twitter.com/thPakEpfOi
— Pussy Riot (@pussyrrriot) November 9, 2017
Nadya said the message of the video is about “how difficult and dangerous it is for political activists to spread new information.” She continued:
“We’ve been attacked several times and people around us have been attacked and even killed — killed just because of political participation.”
Nadya has been outspoken about Trump, noting that he used the same messages that Vladimir Putin did before he took total control of the media in Russia.
“Lots of people in the United States decided to choose this not-very-smart and pro-authoritarian person who is attacking women’s rights, trans rights and independent press.”
Perhaps most ominously of all, she made it very clear that Trump has already taken the first step to following Putin’s example. Nadia said:
“[Trump] treats critics as treasonous which is the first sign of being an authoritarian leader.”
Every time Pussy Riot appears in the media, they are under threat for their very lives, yet they refuse to allow Russia’s authoritarian government to stop them. They have gone to jail for two years for what most Americans would probably see as a trivial performance in the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior. They were charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.”
Pussy Riot suffered beatings by at least 10 Cossack militia members and other security officers for a 2014 appearance, which shows exactly how hard the Russian government cracks down on freedom of expression in the media. According to a report from USA Today, those identifying as Cossacks have a “racist, nationalist and anti-Semitic” worldview, much as many Trump supporters do today.
Before the premiere of the video, Nadya Tolokonnikova appeared with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the similarities between Trump and Putin. She gave America a clear warning and suggested that the way to turn it around would be for all Americans to become more politically active, and to see it as less of a chore and more of a joyful and essential part of daily life.
See the insightful interview below:
Watch the new Pussy Riot video here:
Featured image: Screenshot via Twitter.