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Political Messages and the World Cup

Jeannie Gianni

Posted on July 15, 2018 23:18

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Four members of Pussy Riot rushed the field during the World Cup Championship game

Like many World Cup fans, I was watching the France and Croatia battle and flop through an unprecedented and exhilarating game. I was rooting for Croatia. My stomach was in knots while Ivan Raktic had a clear path down the field.

Then there was a scurry of activity. Men in bright yellow vests were running at people dressed in what looked like police officer uniforms. The interpreters were detained in a somewhat quick fashion, and the game resumed. 

As the game continued, I got a notification on my phone that the people detained were members of the Pussy Riot. Some context: The World Cup was held in Russia this year, and as Vladimir Putin looked on, an anti-Putin feminist protest punk rock band formed in 2011.

The Pussy Riot has done many elaborate and staged protests against the Russian government. Today marked the 11th year since the death of the Russian port Dmitriv Prigov. On Twitter, the band wrote about Prigov's allusion to a heavenly nationhood within Russia.

They believed that the World Cup was a symbolic moment to express Prigov's views. Their demands from this protest were "Let all political prisoners free. Not imprison for 'likes.' Stop illegal arrests on rallies. Allow political competition in the country. Not fabricate criminal accusations, and not keep people in jail for no reason. And turn the earthly policemen into the heavenly policeman."

Like any protest against a dictatorship, the message and effort is noted and greatly appreciated. The World Cup has millions of viewers watching, but I do wonder if their message was clear. I know that I was initially annoyed at the intrusion and stoppage of the game. Maybe more diehard fans are now going to ignore and detest the Pussy Riot's message of defying their sacred soccer/futbol field.

Jeannie Gianni

Posted on July 15, 2018 23:18

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Source: USA TODAY
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Four members associated with the feminist punk rock protest group from Russia interrupted the final to bring attention to...

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