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Russia: Diva Politics Over Pussy Riot

The Pussy Riot trial has caused no small amount of debate among Russia's public figures, including an amusing row between two of the country's best known celebrities.

After both the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Madonna extended their support to Pussy Riot during performances in Russia, Ksenia Sobchak, a famous TV personality and new entry to the political opposition, tweeted [ru]:

Главное чтобы после ЭТОГО Ваенга и Валерия не покончили жизнь самоубийством..по иронии судьбы теперь пуси единственная группа с межд именем.

I hope that, after THIS, Vaenga and Valeria don't commit suicide … ironically Pussy Riot is now the only internationally famous music group.

Russian TV host Ksenia Sobchak, Moscow, 28 June 2010, photo by A.Savin, CC BY-SA 3.0; Wikimedia Commons.

Elena Vaenga is the popular singer who recently made headlines for ranting online against Pussy Riot. (For more, read our coverage here.) Valeriya (the stage name of Alla Perfilova) is also a pop singer, and something of a fixture in Russian music. It goes without saying that neither artist has ever enjoyed the international exposure that has recently visited Pussy Riot.

Valeriya, living up to her “good girl” image, wrote a long and structured reply [ru] on LiveJournal. There, she accused Sobchak of turning from personal to political scandals in her move from television to protests, arguing that Sobchak's ‘pursuit of fame’ drove her “to trample her Homeland in the mud.” Valeriya finished by adding that she could not imagine a better president than Putin.

Russian bloggers reacted immediately. LJ user 0-logik, for instance, started a poll on his blog, asking readers to support either Valeria's “inquisitorial” position,  or Sobchak's “rational” stance. (Unsurprisingly, Sobchak leads by almost 500 votes.) Other netizens, however, question what standing either Sobchak or Valeriya have to comment on the country's political situation. After all, both debutants live privileged lives far from the concerns of everyday Russians.

Still, many RuNet users have taken sides. Dmitry Belyayev defended [ru] Valeriya:

её звезда, взошедшая на ниве колоссального труда, горит намного ярче, чем «звезды» людей уровня Ксении Собчак, о которых никто не вспомнит, если не появится нового скандала.

Her star, which shines because of her hard work, shines much more brightly than the “stars” of people like Ksenia Sobchak, who nobody will remember if there isn't a new scandal.

Russian singer Valeriya, 19 May 2010, photo by Mikhail Popov, CC BY-SA 3.0; Wikimedia Commons.

Blogger Misliobovsem [ru], on the other hand, noted that Valeriya's criticisms of Sobchak apply equally to herself:

 всё, или почти всё, в чём она обвиняет Ксению, к самой Валерии относится в большей степени. Это и привлечение к себе внимания за счёт скандалов(семейных) с вызывом к себе чувства жалости и вгрызание в руку(или в другую часть тела), которая её вскормила.

Everything, or almost everything, for which she blames Ksenia applies to her to an even greater extent. That is, attracting attention through (family) scandals, fishing for sympathy, or biting the hand (or some other body part) that has fed her.

Some Russian celebrities, like Fillip Kirkorov, have taken Ksenia's side [ru], while others have rallied to Valeriya. The Twitter scandal, brief though it was, did enjoy the national media spotlight temporarily.

  • aha

    Sobchak probably knows more about politics than all of those bimbos combined.

  • http://twitter.com/AlexaDavidoff Alexandra Davidoff

    Pussy Riot protested injustice and inequality with an artistic expression. They screamed and we listened. But in a country with deeply rooted political/religious entanglement using fear to control, they should have made their protest more elegantly.

    Claims that they offended believers has blurred Pussy Riot’s original message and have given the governing powers an excuse to cage them. Is their sentence really remarkable, or should they have seen it coming? As Russia faces global scrutiny, what is the rest of the world doing to uphold democracy? http://mayorgate.blogspot.com/2012/08/pussy-riot-censored-by-disappropriate.html

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