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Pussy Riot: a feminist band lost in history and translation

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Nationalities Papers
Issue number4
Volume42
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)604-610
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

The Pussy Riot story is clearly a story the West wanted to hear. Western journalists, politicians, and celebrities were unanimously inspired by the youthfulness and rebellion of courageous Russian feminists. Their life experience perfectly resonates with the core of these young women's messages. For Russians, however, even for those who share the most liberal values, it is not so simple. Public polls and several months of heated debates have shown that virtually everyone in this deeply conservative country has struggled to make sense of the Pussy Riot performance. So, what do Westerners not understand about Russia and what are the problems of translating feminism(s) into different cultural contexts? How does feminist protest deprived of its roots function here, and why do women in Russia not understand that Pussy Riot's story personally concerns all of them? This essay outlines the difference between Russian and Western readings of the Pussy Riot performance and, using the case of public response in Russia, contemplates the reasons for the failure of feminism in this part of the world.