Should Musicians Boycott Russia Over Pussy Riot Jailing?

Hot Press editor says it might be the only effective method of protest.

In the new issue of Hot Press, editor Niall Stokes writes about the jailing of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot – and calls on artists to play their part in what he calls a real "challenge" to the music community.

In The Message, a lengthy and thought-provoking editorial, Stokes suggests that a musical boycott of Russia might be the most effective way of bringing pressure to bear to free Pussy Riot.:

"In terms of effectively expressing solidarity with the group," he writes, "and putting immediate and persuasive pressure on the Russian authorities to release the jailed musicians now, a boycott by leading international musicians would be a potentially effective tool. Does the leadership exist among musicians which would facilitate this? Or will the self-interest, the individual careers and the income streams of those who are scheduled to play Russia come first?"

The Hot Press editor emphasises the importance of solidarity within the music community.

"It is important for the music community across the world to show their solidarity with artists who have been imprisoned for nothing more dangerous than turning their guitars up to 9 and singing anti-authoritarian songs in a place of worship. Whether a law was broken or not, it is clearly utterly disproportionate and wrong that they have been jailed as a result.

"I doubt that Vladimir Putin is a regular reader of this column, but one of the beauties of the internet is that all of the information, news and views on an issue like this is aggregated and made available to those who are at the centre of the action," Stokes adds. "In a situation like this, every voice counts.

Elsewhere in the piece, the HP editor makes the point that "For a magazine like Hot Press, in many ways, Pussy Riot are fellow spirits."

The full article appears in the new issue of Hot Press, an Electric Picnic Special with Robert Smith cover.

 

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