Attack the Symbols

On the day that three members of the punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years’ prison for having interrupted a service in the Christ the Savior cathedral in Moscow in February to sing in front of the altar a blasphemous “prayer”—which included the refrain “Sh-t, sh-t, the Lord’s sh-t”—a group in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, staged an event in support of the imprisoned three.  A busty girl in red hot pants and with bottle-blonde locks flounced into a public park, stripped her chest bare in front of her cameramen and the general public, knelt at the foot of a large wooden crucifix (which had been erected to the victims of communism), bowed, made the Sign of the Cross (in the Eastern fashion), and then, still topless and with “Free Riot” written in black lipstick above her bosom, proceeded to cut down the 20-foot cross with a chainsaw.  She waved her implement exultantly in the air as the crucifix came crashing to the ground.

The next day, her group, FEMEN, threatened to do the same to every cross in Russia “to save the country,” and several have indeed now been desecrated; FEMEN has also published poster montages depicting the Russian patriarch’s head being sliced by a chainsaw, and group members holding up by their hair the decapitated heads of President Putin, Patriarch Cyril, and the Pope.  The group’s...

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