Treefort Band Pussy Riot Linked to Russian Anti-LGBTQ Group 

- Pussy Riot will play at El Korah Shrine on Saturday, March 24, during Treefort Music Fest. -  - IGOR MUKHIN
  • Igor Mukhin
  • Pussy Riot will play at El Korah Shrine on Saturday, March 24, during Treefort Music Fest.
In February 2012, Russian feminist band Pussy Riot performed a "punk prayer" show at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. The Russian Orthodox Church called the stunt "sacrilegious," and Russian law enforcement called it "hooliganism." Within days of the show, three members of the group—Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich—had been arrested. They served two years in Russian penal colonies before being amnestied by President Vladimir Putin.

The trial and imprisonment of members of the band was widely criticized outside of Russia, and when they were released, they had achieved international celebrity for their staunch feminist principles and advocacy for LGBTQ issues in Russia. Allegations of infighting and one member's romantic relationship with a member of a violent anti-LGBT organization, however, have cast a pall on the punk band, which will play in Boise during Treefort Music Fest on Saturday, March 24, at El Korah Shrine.

At the center of the controversy is Alyokhina, whose love affair with a founder of the far-right activist group God's Will, Dmitry Enteo, has caused a stir on both sides of the Atlantic. God's Will has been described as an anti-LGBTQ, Russian nationalist organization, and has clashed violently with gay rights activists. Prior to his arrest during one such confrontation in 2015, Enteo told AFP the gay rights activists represented "heinous anti-Christian values."

"We don't want the Dead Sea to wipe away our beautiful city as it did to the ancient town of Sodom," he said.

As of November 2017, Alyokhina and Enteo were still together, but there have been consequences. Enteo has been edged out of God's Will for associating with Alyokhina, despite having once pressed for her imprisonment. Their relationship has also been a source of tension within Pussy Riot.

The cognitive dissonance of a member of a radical feminist group cavorting with an anti-LGBTQ activist was not lost on The Stranger in Seattle, Washington. Neither was the dissonance in Tolokonnikova hosting Inside Pussy Riot, an "immersive theatre experience," at a gallery owned by Charles Saatchi, who was photographed in 2013 assaulting his then-wife. The Stranger notes:

These disappointing incongruities don't negate the good Pussy Riot has done in standing up to corrupt systems. But it's important to remember, in celebrating the group's rebellious spirit, that any revolution that excludes or marginalizes is cause for another revolution.

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