Pussy Riot and the Translatability of Cultures

in Transcultural Studies
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


The punk feminist collective Pussy Riot translate new ideas by embedding them in the visual symbols of the target culture. With their short bright-colored dresses and tights they tap into the stylistics of the Russian female performance as non-threatening ambiance to take the stage and protest against misogyny and authoritarianism. In 2012 they performed at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral and asked the Virgin Mary to put an end to Vladimir Putin’s rule. They were captured and sentenced to two years in prison for instigating religious hatred. Welcomed in the West, they made a music video “I Can’t Breathe” (2015) using the case of Eric Garner to explain the tolerance for authority in Russia. We look at the eclectic mix of thinkers and artists Pussy Riot named as their inspirers, and use the collective’s work to examine the changing attitude to the translatability of cultures.

Transcultural Studies

A Journal in Interdisciplinary Research



Benglis L. , ‘Lynda Benglis: Now You Are Ready,’ The Guardian (22 February 2012) http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/feb/22/lynda-benglis-uk-retrospective-interview (accessed 2 December 2016).

Bobic I. , ‘Obama Reacts to Eric Garner Decision: ‘This Is an American Problem,’’ Huffington Post (3 December 2014) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/obama-eric-garner-decision_n_6264762.html (accessed 2 December 2016).

Bodin P.-A . Language, Canonization and Holy Foolishness (Stockholm: Stockholm up, 2009).

Braidotti R. , Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia up, 1994).

Butler J. , Gender Trouble (London: Routledge, 1999).

Capehart J. , ‘From Trayvon Martin to ‘Black Lives Matter,’’ The Washington Post (27 February 2015) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/02/27/from-trayvon-martin-to-black-lives-matter (accessed 2 December 2016).

Castillo A. , ‘Pussy Riot Attempts to Support Eric Garner in New Song ‘I Can’t Breathe,’’ Fusion (18 February 2015) http://fusion.net/story/50582/pussy-riot-attempts-to-support-eric-garner-in-new-song-i-cant-breathe (accessed 2 December 2016).

Cole D. , No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System (New York: The New Press, 1999).

Dworkin A. , Right-Wing Women (New York: Perigee Books, 1978).

Elder M. , ‘Sergei Magnitsky Verdict ‘Most Shameful Moment since Stalin,’’ The Guardian (11 July 2013) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/11/sergei-magnitsky-russia-trial-verdict-tax-fraud (accessed 2 December 2016).

Firestone S. , The Dialectic of Sex: The Case for Feminist Revolution (New York: Macmillan, 1970).

Goralik L. , ‘Delo Pussy Riot i sostoianie feminizma v Rossii’ [Pussy Riot case and the state of feminism in Russia], Afisha.ru (22 August 2012) http://gorod.afisha.ru/archive/delo-pussy-riot-i-sostojanie-feminizma-v-rossii (accessed 2 December 2016).

Hofstede G. , Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations (Thousand Oaks, ca: Sage Publications, 2001).

Holquist M. , Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World (London: Routledge, 2002).

hooks b. , Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (London: Pluto Press, 1982).

House of Cards, Chapter 29, directed by Tucker Gates, performed by Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Lars Mikkelsen. Netflix, 2013, dvd.

Hunt P. , Holy Foolishness in Russia (Bloomington, in: Slavika, 2011).

Ioffe J. , ‘The Punks Are Back: The Public Duo Behind Pussy Riot,’ Glamour Magazine (19 February 2015) http://www.glamour.com/inspired/blogs/the-conversation/2015/02/pussy-riot-interview (accessed 2 December 2016).

‘Kak Rossii udalos’ vziat’ Krym bez boia’ [How Russia succeeded in taking Crimea without firing a shot], bbc (20 March 2015) http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/russia/2015/03/150320_crimea_film_battle (accessed 2 December 2016).

Khakamada I. , ‘Feminizm: diagnoz ili forma protesta?’ [Feminism: a diagnosis or a form of protest?] Echo Moskvy (8 September 2012) http://echo.msk.ru/programs/kulshok/927417-echo (accessed 2 December 2016).

Kornhaber S. , ‘Is Pussy Riot Helping the Eric Garner Cause or Hijacking It?The Atlantic (19 February 2015) http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/what-is-pussy-riot-doing-making-a-video-about-eric-garner/385643 (accessed 2 December 2016).

Levada , ‘Rossiiane o dele Pussy Riot’ [Russians on the Pussy Riot case], Levada.ru (31 July 2012) http://www.levada.ru/31-07-2012/rossiyane-o-dele-pussy-riot (accessed 2 December 2016).

McKinney K. , ‘Pussy Riot’s New Song ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Is About Eric Garner,’ Vox (18 February 2015) http://www.vox.com/2015/2/18/8064367/pussy-riot-eric-garner (accessed 2 December 2016).

Mueller R. , Valie Export: Fragments of the Imagination (Bloomington, in: Indiana up, 1994).

Narinskaya A. , ‘Chto takoe feminizm v Rossii’ [What is feminism in Russia], Colta (13 February 2014) http://www.colta.ru/articles/specials/2038 (accessed 2 December 2016).

‘Patriarch Kirill o protestakh,’ [Patriarch Kirill talks about the protests], Gazeta (1 February 2012) www.gazeta.ru/news/lenta/2012/02 (accessed 2 December 2016).

Patriarch Kirill Thanks Putin for Leading the Country out of Crisis in 1990s,’ Interfax-Religion (8 February 2012) http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=news&div=9049 (accessed 2 December 2016).

Pavlenskiy P. , questioning of Pyotr Pavlenskiy by Pavel Iasman, Snob (22 January 2015) https://snob.ru/selected/entry/77648/page/2 (accessed 2 December 2016).

Piccolo L. , ‘From Stylization to Parody: The Paradigm of Holy Foolishness in Contemporary Russian Performance Art,’ in Holy Foolishness in Russia (Bloomington, in: Slavika, 2011): 354373.

Pushkareva N. , ‘O prodolzhenii seksual’noi revoliutsii i neudachakh rossiiskogo feminizma’ [The present of sexual revolution and the fiascos of Russian feminism], The Village (19 August 2014), http://www.the-village.ru/village/city/city-news/162785-chto-novogo-genderolog (accessed 2 December 2016).

Riot Pussy , ‘Kropotkin-Vodka, Pussy Riot zhget putinskij glamur’ [Kropotkin-Vodka, Pussy Riot is burning Putin’s glitz], LiveJournal.com (1 December 2011) http://pussy-riot.livejournal.com/5164.html (accessed 2 December 2016).

Riot Pussy , ‘Meeting Pussy Riot,’ interview by Harry Langston, Vice (12 March 2012), http://www.vice.com/read/A-Russian-Pussy-Riot (accessed 2 December 2016).

Riot Pussy , ‘Nelegal’nyi kontzert na turemnoi kryshe’ [Illegal concert on the prison’s roof], LiveJournal.com (14 December 2011) http://pussy-riot.livejournal.com/5763.html (accessed 2 December 2016).

Riot Pussy , ‘Punk-moleben’ [Punk prayer], Pussy Riot: Kak v krasnoi tiur’me (22 February 2012) pussy-riot.info (accessed 2 December 2016).

Riot Pussy , ‘Q&A with Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina,’ interview by Luke Harding and Peter Verzilov, The Guardian (18 February 2015) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/18/pussy-riot-i-cant-breathe-nadya-tolokonnikova-masha-alyokhina (accessed 2 December 2016).

‘Putinu bol’she nravitsia rabotat’ s muzhchinami, chem s zhenshchinami. A Medvedevu – net’ [Putin prefers working with men than women, but Medvedev doesn’t], Gazeta (25 November 2011) http://www.gazeta.spb.ru/608219-1 (accessed 2 December 2016).

Rossa B. , ‘Civil Position,’ Works: Performance and Intervention (2007) http://boryanarossa.com/civil-position (accessed 2 December 2016).

Samutsevich E. , interview by Ksenia Sobchak, Snob (19 November 2012) http://snob.ru/selected/entry/53946 (accessed 2 December 2016).

‘Samye yarye kritiki aktsii Pussy Riot’ [Pussy Riot’ performance worst critics] rbk Daily (12 April 2012) http://www.rbc.ru/newspaper/news/562949983548448 (accessed 2 December 2016).

Schlosberg L. , ‘Ix ne prosto obmanuli, ix unizili’ [They weren’t just cheated, they were humiliated], Novaya gazeta (5 September 2014) http://www.novayagazeta.ru/inquests/65127.html (accessed 2 December 2016).

Sierra S. , interview by Teresa Margolles, Bomb Magazine 86 (Winter 2004) http://bombmagazine.org/article/2606/ (accessed 2 December 2016).

Syrova M. , ‘Verdikt o Pussy Riot,’ Snob (22 August 2012) http://snob.ru/selected/entry/51999 (accessed 2 December 2016).

Tolokonnikova N. , ‘My dolzhny byt’ opravdany’ [We must be acquitted], ntv (7 August 2012) http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/319096 (accessed 8 June, 2017).

Troitsky V. , Abramenkova V. , and Ponkin I. , ‘Zakliuchenya ekspertov po delu Pussy Riot’ [Expert evaluation of the Pussy Riot case], Russkaya Narodnaya Liniia (24 November 2012) http://ruskline.ru/analitika/2012/10/24/zaklyuchenie_komissii_ekspertov_po_delu_pusi_rajt (accessed 2 December 2016).

Žmijewski A. , ‘Art’s Inner Life,’ interview by Adam Mazur, Biweekly.pl (1 November 2011) http://www.biweekly.pl/article/3071-art’s-inner-life.html (accessed 2 December 2016).



Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 17 17 12
Full Text Views 11 11 10
PDF Downloads 0 0 0
EPUB Downloads 2 2 2