A "Free Pussy Riot" demonstration in Berlin, Germany.

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(CNN)

August 20, 2012

What Pussy Riot Teaches Us

photo by Grune Bundestagsfraktion /Flickr.com

by Olga Oliker

Pussy Riot has been everywhere. The blogosphere has been awash for weeks in demands that the three jailed members of this Russian performance art collective be freed. Yesterday, a Russian court rejected those demands.

Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich, imprisoned since March on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, were found guilty and sentenced to two years imprisonment each. But while Amnesty International has declared the three “prisoners of conscience,” Madonna got far more attention for their cause by displaying the group’s name on her back at a recent Moscow concert.

Indeed, few Western musicians have taken the stage recently without making some gesture in support of Pussy Riot, which takes aesthetic inspiration from the American riot grrrl feminist musical movement of the 1990s.

The remainder of this commentary can be found at CNN.com


Olga Oliker is a senior international policy analyst at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.

This commentary originally appeared on CNN on August 20, 2012. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.