Why Pussy Riot’s Anti-Kremlin Protest at the World Cup Final Matters – 为什么Pussy Riot的反克里姆林宫抗议世界杯决赛

Opinion - 17 Jul 2018

Why Pussy Riot’s Anti-Kremlin Protest at the World Cup Final Matters

The punk artists’s invasion of the pitch during the Croatia vs. France match reminded us what Russia’s new ‘normality’ really means

By Aliide Naylor

On 19 June, six days into the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, I sent an Instagram message to an English football fan visiting Volgograd, a city in the south-west of the country. I was sourcing footage for potential World Cup news reports; the fan claimed that he met the perpetrators of the infamous football hooligan violence in Marseilles during UEFA Euro 2016 (during which Russian fans armed with weapons and flares turned the championships into chaos). At that time, a Russian news website (reputed to be linked to the domestic security services), Life News, stated that the nation’s football fans had demonstrated ‘what it means to wake the Russian bear!’ in their physical domination of Western counterparts. Russian politician Igor Lebedev wrote on Twitter: ‘I don’t see anything wrong with the fans fighting […] Quite the opposite, well done lads, keep it up!’

In Russia, during this year’s World Cup, nothing of the sort happened – perhaps to the disappointment of under-informed news editors gleefully anticipating the eruption of mass brawls. ‘It was weird, they were saying that in France they wanted to fight us but here we are their guests,’ the England fan in Volgograd told me. Scanning comments by tourist football fans across social media reveals a similar theme: ‘surprise’ at the absence of Russian hooliganism and denouncements of ‘scaremongering’ and ‘propaganda’ against the host country. One football fan and vlogger Theo Ogden released a video declaring the prospect of violence or unwelcome behaviour as ‘myths’. Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT declared: ‘England fans at the World Cup in Russia have smashed many of the myths created by the UK media ahead of the tournament, when the press portrayed the host country as a hostile nation riddled with racism and hooliganism.’

Of course there wasn’t going to be any hooligan violence. The potential perpetrators were threatened with imprisonment beforehand should any scuffles take place during the World Cup. Football fans from abroad were presented with the kind of sanitized version of Russia that could only exist during a global event where Russia was in the spotlight. Russia is often the victim of misrepresentation by foreign media, but over the course of this World Cup, the country willfully, and skillfully, misrepresented itself. Russia may be a beautiful, interesting place, full of intelligent, welcoming and passionate people with an incredible cultural history – but it is one with an atrocious record on civil rights and systemic corruption. 

During the weekend’s World Cup final in which France faced off against Croatia (eventually winning 4-2), members of punk art collective Pussy Riot ran out onto the pitch wearing the recognizable white shirts, black ties and red-striped trousers of Russian police uniforms, temporarily halting play. France’s teenage football hero Kylian Mbappé hi-fived one of them. Activists Nika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachyova, Olga Pakhtusova and Pyotr Verzilov (spokesperson and husband of Nadya Tolokonnikova of ‘Punk Prayer’ fame) were later charged with disruption and impersonating police officers. The protesters were handed 15 days of ‘administrative arrest,’ after the stunt which was clearly aimed at capturing international attention (the 2014 World Cup final was watched by a global audience of 1.1 billion).

A member of Pussy Riot high-fiving France’s Kylian Mbappé at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, 15 July 2018. Courtesy: VI Images via Getty Images

Why Pussy Riot’s Anti-Kremlin Protest at the World Cup Final Matters - 为什么Pussy Riot的反克里姆林宫抗议世界杯决赛

A member of Pussy Riot high-fiving France’s Kylian Mbappé at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, 15 July 2018. Courtesy: VI Images via Getty Images

‘Today is 11 years since the death of the great Russian poet, Dmitriy Prigov. Prigov created an image of a policeman, a carrier of the heavenly nationhood, in the Russian culture,’ Pussy Riot wrote in an English-language Facebook statement. The image of the heavenly policeman was used to illustrate the plight of political prisoners such as Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov – currently holding a hunger strike in an Arctic prison camp – and legal action against social media users, just for ‘liking’ posts that run contrary to the desires of Russian authorities. 

During this World Cup, Russian police did not intimidate Western fans, and Russian state media welcomed them with optimism. Their most valuable trait was that they were not criticizing the host country. But critics of the Russian state still squirm under its chaotic fist. In footage of interrogations following their pitch invasion, police told the Pussy Riot activists of their ‘regret that it isn’t 1937 now,’ referring to Stalin’s Great Purge. In the sanitized Russia we have been watching on television screens all month, the message was particularly poignant: a reminder of what Russia’s ‘normality’ really hides.

Russia’s new normality hides the fact that the richest 10 percent own nearly 90 percent of the country’s wealth; antifascists are kidnapped, beaten and tortured; members of the LGBT community face persecution (and in the southern Republic of Chechnya, have allegedly been rounded up and tortured), independent media organizations are squeezed until they can no longer survive, and employees are threatened or bussed to polling stations to ensure that Russian President Vladimir Putin gets a strong voter turnout despite being the only viable contender in national elections. Russia’s normality welcomes the foreigners who venture there likely to espouse positive messages about the nation, while slapping its own citizens in the face (in just the most pleasant cases). 

Pussy Riot storming the World Cup pitch reminded us that this happy, welcoming spectacle has a far darker side. Sentsov remains a political prisoner, charged with plotting terrorism in a case described as ‘unfair’ by Amnesty International – the vocal critic of Ukraine's former pro-Russia government has been in custody for more than four years. Pussy Riot activists have experienced their own trials and tribulations, suffering jail terms during which they have allegedly been endlessly humiliated – member Maria Alyokhina has described being routinely stripped naked and subjected to invasive gynecological exams while imprisoned in a Russian penal colony. This World Cup may have been a fantastic PR stunt for an often deeply misunderstood country. But let’s not replace those misunderstandings with further misconceptions. 

Main image: member of Pussy Riot invades the pitch at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Ian MacNicol

Aliide Naylor

Aliide Naylor is a British journalist and editor, and the author of forthcoming book The Shadow in the East: Vladimir Putin and the New Baltic Front (I.B. Tauris). Her work has been published with the New Statesman, The Guardian, and Politico Europe among others. She tweets: @Aliide_N

Opinion
Aliide Naylor
Russia
Human Rights
Football
World Cup
Pussy Riot
Protest


《17号》第2018卷第六集《为什么世界杯决赛中的暴动反克里姆林宫抗议》在克罗地亚和法国的比赛中朋克艺术家的入侵使我们想起俄罗斯的新“正常”意味着什么。Aliide Naylor于6月19日,在俄罗斯国际足联世界杯2018天的六天内,我给一位英国足球迷发了一个Instagram信息,他访问了这个国家西南部的一个城市伏尔加格勒。我正在为潜在的世界杯新闻报道录像,球迷声称他在2016欧洲杯期间遇到了马赛港臭名昭著的足球流氓暴力的肇事者(在这期间俄罗斯球迷手持武器和耀斑使锦标赛陷入混乱)。当时,一个俄罗斯新闻网站(被称为与国内安全服务有关),《生活新闻》指出,该国的球迷已经证明了唤醒俄罗斯熊的意义。俄罗斯政治家Igor Lebedev在推特上写道:“在他们对西方对手的身体控制中,我看不出球迷们有什么不对劲……相反,做得好的伙计们,坚持下去!”在俄罗斯,在今年的世界杯期间,没有发生类似的事情——也许是因为失望的消息不足的新闻编辑高兴地预见到大规模争吵的爆发。“这很奇怪,他们说在法国他们想和我们打交道,但我们是他们的客人,”伏尔加格勒的英国球迷告诉我。在社交媒体上浏览旅游足球爱好者的评论揭示了一个相似的主题:“没有俄罗斯流氓行为”的“惊喜”和对东道国的“恐吓”和“宣传”。一位足球迷和VoLogg奥格登发表了一段视频,宣称暴力或不受欢迎的行为可能是“神话”。克里姆林宫支持的播音员RT宣称:“俄罗斯世界杯上的英格兰球迷打破了英国媒体在比赛前创造的许多神话,当时媒体将东道国描绘成一个充满种族主义和流氓色彩的敌对国家。”当然,这是不可能的。是流氓暴力。如果世界杯期间发生任何混战,潜在的肇事者会受到事先监禁的威胁。来自国外的足球迷们被展示了一种只有在俄罗斯成为焦点的全球性事件中才存在的那种俄罗斯化的版本。俄罗斯经常是外国媒体误传的受害者,但是在世界杯的过程中,这个国家是故意的。俄罗斯可能是一个美丽、有趣的地方,充满了智慧、热情和热情的人们,有着难以置信的文化历史——但这是一个关于民权和系统腐败的糟糕记录。法国面对克罗地亚(最终赢得4-2),朋克艺术团体的成员Pussy Riot穿着白色的衬衫,黑色领带和红色条纹裤,穿着俄罗斯警察制服跑出球场,暂时停止比赛。法国十几岁的足球英雄Kylian Mbapp。活动家Nika Nikulshina、Olga Kurachyova、Olga Pakhtusova和Pyotr Verzilov(“朋克祈祷”名人的Nadya Tolokonnikova)的发言人和丈夫后来被控扰乱和冒充警察。抗议者被派了15天的“行政逮捕”,这是为了吸引国际关注的特技表演(2014的世界杯决赛被全球观众观看了11亿次)。2018年7月15日,莫斯科法国的Kyiang-MaAPP在LuZiNiKi体育场的一个成员。礼貌:VI图像通过GATTY图像Why Pussy Riot’s Anti-Kremlin Protest at the World Cup Final Matters - 为什么Pussy Riot的反克里姆林宫抗议世界杯决赛成员Posiy RioT高Fiver法国的KyLi-Mappe在LuZiNi Ki体育场,莫斯科,2018年7月15日。礼貌:通过盖蒂图片的VI今天是11年以来,伟大的俄罗斯诗人Dmitriy Prigov去世。Pussy Riot在脸谱网的一份声明中写道:“普里高夫在俄罗斯文化中塑造了一个警察形象,这是一个天堂民族的载体。”天堂警察的形象被用来说明政治犯的困境,比如乌克兰电影制片人Oleg Sentsov目前在北极监狱营地举行绝食抗议,以及对社交媒体用户的法律行动,只是为了“喜欢”与“反”相反的帖子。在世界杯期间,俄罗斯警方没有吓唬西方球迷,俄罗斯官方媒体对他们表示乐观。他们最有价值的特点是他们没有批评东道国。但俄罗斯政府的批评者仍在混乱的拳头下蠕动。在他们入侵球场的审讯录像中,警方告诉那些“暴动分子”,他们后悔“现在还不到1937岁”,这指的是斯大林的大扫除。在整个俄罗斯,我们整个月都在电视屏幕上看电视,这个消息特别尖锐:提醒我们俄罗斯的“常态”真正隐藏了什么。俄罗斯的新常态掩盖了一个事实,即最富有的10%人拥有将近90%的国家财富;反法西斯分子被绑架、殴打和折磨;LGBT社区成员面临迫害(在车臣共和国南部)据称被围捕和拷打。D)独立的媒体组织受到挤压,直到他们无法生存,员工受到威胁或拥挤到投票站,以确保俄罗斯总统弗拉基米尔·普京获得强有力的选民投票率,尽管这是全国选举中唯一可行的竞争者。俄罗斯的常态欢迎那些在那里冒险的外国人,他们可能会支持国家的正面信息,同时在自己的脸上拍打自己的公民(只是在最令人愉快的情况下)。瑞克侧。StSoSV仍然是一名政治犯,被控策划一个被大赦国际称为“不公平”的恐怖主义案。对乌克兰前亲俄政府的声言批评已经被羁押了四多年。俄罗斯的暴动分子经历了他们自己的考验和磨难,他们遭受了监禁,在这期间他们一直被没完没了的羞辱——Maria Alyokhina成员描述了在监狱中被剥夺裸体和接受侵入性的妇科检查。这个世界杯对于一个经常被深深误解的国家来说可能是一个奇妙的公关噱头。但是,我们不能用更多的误解来取代这些误解。主要形象:2018岁的国际足联莫斯科世界杯决赛中,2018岁。礼貌:盖蒂图片;照片:伊恩McNICOL AIDIDE内勒AIDIDE内勒是英国记者和编辑,以及即将出版的《东方阴影》的作者:弗拉基米尔·普京和新波罗的海前面(I.B. Tauris)。她的作品发表在新政治家、卫报和欧洲政坛等。她在推特上说:“利物浦,内勒,俄罗斯,人权,世界杯,猫咪的暴乱抗议。”


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