Putin, Pussy Riot and Protest: A Turbulent Year in Russian Politics

Locations
Law Building, Lecture Theatre 3 (116)
Category
Research, Social Sciences, Students
Date(s)
Wednesday 20th March 2013 (13:00-14:30)
Contact

David White
Tel: +44 (0)121 414 8237
Email: d.j.white.1@bham.ac.uk

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Description

Last year saw an unheralded upsurge in political protest in Russia. In response to the flawed parliamentary elections of December 2011, tens of thousands took to the streets in Moscow to register their disapproval not only with the conduct of the elections but with the leadership of Vladimir Putin who was shortly to be reinstalled as President, Dmitry Medvedev having kept the seat warm for him over the previous four years.

In February 2012, members of the feminist punk collective, Pussy Riot, performed their ‘Punk Prayer’, an attack on Putin, in Moscow’s Church of Christ the Saviour, an act condemned both by the Orthodox community and the regime. Retribution was swift and in August two members of the group were sentenced to two years in prison camps for an act of ‘hooliganism’, triggering criticism in the West both from human rights groups including Amnesty International and artists and performers such as Yoko Ono and Madonna.

Western prognoses of a ‘Moscow Spring’ were, however, premature. Since then the protest movement appears to have lost momentum and the Putin regime appears to be very much in control.

In this seminar two of the UK’s experts on Russian politics discuss the complex relationship between power and opposition in Russia today:

  • Edwin Bacon (Birkbeck College, London): 'Pussy Riot and the complexities of protest in Russia'
  • David White (CREES, Birmingham): Protesting against Putin: still waiting for the Moscow Spring

Who is the seminar for?

The seminar is aimed at students and academics with an interest in Russian domestic politics and the relationship between authoritarian regimes and political opposition. The two papers and the discussion they will hopefully trigger will focus on this relationship and will draw broad conclusions about the possibility of future political change in Russia.