Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: Closing Statement at the Pussy Riot Trial

I don’t know much about the punk band Pussy Riot but I know a great courtroom speech when I hear one.

I refer to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s closing statement at the Khamovnichesky Courthouse, Moscow, on August 8, 2012.

She can be seen and heard making the statement here. You will find a transcript, with more commentary, here.

She and her two band members are to spend the next two years in prison, so please take 10 minutes to listen to and read her speech.

Above all, she demands emotional authenticity in Russia:

We were looking for authentic genuineness and simplicity and we found them in the holy foolishness of our punk performances. Passion, openness and naivety are superior to hypocrisy, cunning and a contrived decency that conceals crimes. The state’s leaders stand with saintly expressions in church but, in their deceit, their sins are far greater than ours. We’ve put on our political punk concerts because the Russian state system is dominated by rigidity, closedness and caste and the policies pursued serve only narrow corporate interests to the extent that even the air of Russia makes us ill.

Russia’s enemies in the United States will attempt to use this to further their own interests. I think Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has little in common with them. She sounds like a Russian patriot to me.

Further more ‘Passion, openness and naivety are superior to hypocrisy, cunning and a contrived decency that conceals crimes’ is true of the West too.

In a world were even emotions are simulated for commercial ends, know that performance art can not be. Acting is one of the few authentic things left.

Support actors and performance artists. Spare them a crust of bread.

I salute Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her demand for ‘authentic genuineness’.

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