Correction: The original version of this story mistakenly quoted the band's statement as saying Russia's 2012 oil and gas revenues equaled 7 billion rubles instead of 7 trillion.
MOSCOW, July 16 (RIA Novosti) – Pussy Riot’s first song since two band members were imprisoned last year is, perhaps unsurprisingly, titled “Like a Red Prison.”
In the track, a music video for which was posted on YouTube on Tuesday (watch it, below), Russia’s most outspoken feminist band of a dozen balaclava-wearing activists makes but a fleeting reference to members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who were sentenced to two years in jail for hooliganism after their “punk prayer” against then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The song – a chaotic collection of poorly rhymed lines belted out by several high-pitched female voices to the backdrop of aggressive guitar riffs – mostly takes on Kremlin-controlled oil and gas companies and Putin, and the red prison is Russia itself.
“Last year, oil and gas revenues amounted to 7 trillion rubles [about $215 billion] of the state budget, but it’s only Putin and several of his friends who saw the 7 trillion,” the band said in a statement posted on its website. “That’s why we decided to work things out with oil production and to sing our new song to oil and gas workers.”
The music video shows masked band members dousing a black liquid that looks like oil on the portraits of Putin allies Igor Sechin, head of the state-controlled Rosneft oil company, and Alexander Bastrykin, Russia’s chief investigator.
The young women, in colored skirts and leggings, also perform on the roof of a Rosneft gas station – with dazed station employees looking at them from below – and run around derricks and railway cars with oil containers with hammers and firecrackers.
In the chorus, the band rhymes “propaganda” with "balanda" – thin gruel, a hated prison food that, according to the song, the Kremlin metaphorically feeds to all Russians. Another rhyme puts “pogrom” together with Gazprom, Russia's natural gas monopoly.
The band also compares Putin to an Iranian ayatollah and calls to oust a "homophobic monster out of history" – in an apparent allusion to the draconian anti-gay bill signed into law by Putin in late June.
Having released a handful of poorly recorded and unmelodic songs disliked by critics, Pussy Riot was propelled into global stardom during an internationally condemned trial that ended last August. The trial followed the band's unauthorized performance at Moscow’s opulent Christ the Savior Cathedral last February, in which the young women asked the Holy Mary to deliver Russia from Putin.
The band targeted Putin in several other songs – including one titled “Protests in Russia, Putin Chickens Out,” which praises massive anti-Kremlin rallies against Putin’s return to the Kremlin for a third presidency.
Russia’s powerful Orthodox Church also supported the court's decision to prosecute Pussy Riot, despite an international outcry that incited global protests and condemnation from musicians like Paul McCartney and Madonna. Some Western powers denounced the sentences as disproportionate.