Pussy Riot Wall kicks off Prague ‘Week of Freedom’

Inspired by the ‘John Lennon wall’ that so irked the commies, Opona supports jailed Russian collective with Wenceslas Square tribute

Politics & Policy|Society
Brian Kenety | 18.06.2012

The Week of Freedom project that launched in Prague last year with the aim starting a tradition of reminding Czechs and Europeans about common values of freedom and democracy has kicked off this year’s event with a happening in support of Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk-rock collective.

“Inspired by the John Lennon wall, which at the time of communist totalitarianism served as a kind of wailing wall, we will build the Pussy Riot Wall in the Wenceslas Square over two days,” Opona, the group organizing the event, said on its website.

Three alleged members of Pussy Riot – Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samusevich – were jailed after they performed a “punk prayer service” at Christ the Savior cathedral in downtown Moscow.

The masked women stormed the pulpit and sang a song asking the Virgin Mary to chase away while repeatedly crying “holy shit” and crossing themselves. The Russian Orthodox church arranged to have several arrested in March; they remain behind bars and could face up to seven years in prison for “hooliganism.” 

Amnesty International has since named them “prisoners of conscience” and musicians around the world have taken to the stage to raise funds for their legal fees. As the theme of this year’s Week of Freedom is freedom of speech, Pussy Riot’s cause is a logical choice to draw attention to the event. ‘I admire you very much; hold on. Russia is also regaining its dignity and freedom. Eveyone is thinking of you.’

“The wall will be named after the imprisoned members of the Russian band Pussy Riot. People will be able to write messages for them on the wall and also to express their opinions on nowadays freedom of expression.”

Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09), who caused a minor diplomatic incident earlier this year by sporting a pin mocking Russian leader Vladimir Putin, was the first to write a message on the 30-meter-long wall on Monday. “I admire you very much; hold on. Russia is also regaining its dignity and freedom. Eveyone is thinking of you.”

Opona (“The Curtain”) was established in the fall of 2007 to develop free, publicly accessible commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain — an event that “has considerably influenced the lives of people in the countries of the former communist bloc, opening totally new opportunities and possibilities for them.”

Last year’s Week of Freedom saw the triumphant return of Czech visual artist David Černý’s infamous Pink Tank. 

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