As Hoped, Madonna Shows Her Support for Pussy Riot

So, did the Material Girl show what she was made of and voice her support for Pussy Riot—three members of which are currently sitting in a Moscow jail for speaking out against Vladimir Putin—while on the Russian leg of her tour? Why, yes, she did.


Madonna took a moment during a Moscow concert last night to call on Russian authorities to free the members of the all-girl feminist punk band and art collective, who’ve now spent five months behind bars for staging an anti-Putin “punk prayer” inside Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow’s largest. The charge of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” which carries with it a sentence of up to seven years in prison, is widely seen as spurious and overreaching, intended to set an example of the women.

Madonna wore a balaclava similar to Pussy Riot’s trademark masks and, after stripping down to a black bra, revealed the band’s name written on her back. She also a prepared statement: “I know there are many sides to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government,” she told the auditorium, “but I think that these three girls—Masha, Katya, Nadya—I think that they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act. I pray for their freedom.”

This came after U.S. and Russian officials had warned of possible violence against performers and spectators at Madonna’s two Moscow shows. The U.S. Consulate General issued this warning: “While we expect that enhanced security measures will be put in place at both concerts, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant regarding their personal security, and to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas.”

Kudos, Madonna. Here’s hoping the public show of support—along with an international groundswell of solidarity from musicians including Patti Smith and Sting—moves Russia’s president and courts to do the right thing.

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