Musicians Sign an Open Letter Calling for Pussy Riot Release

More than 100 musicians have joined a worldwide call for the release of the two jaled members of the Russian punk group.

Ultimate Guitar

More than 100 musicians joined a worldwide call for the release of the two jailed members of the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot ahead of their parole appeal hearings this week by signing an open letter calling for their release.

The letter was created at It says:

"Dear Masha and Nadia,

"As the one-year anniversary of your trial approaches, we are writing to assure you that, around the world, people are both still thinking of you and working for your release. Although you were the most visible of the protesters, we know that there were many other young people who have suffered in the protests, about whom we are also very concerned. But, in many ways, through your imprisonment, you have come to represent them.

"Many artists voiced their concern when these charges were first brought against you, we had every hope that the authorities, in dealing with you, would show some understanding, a sense of proportion, even some of the wonderful Russian sense of humour, but none of the above were forthcoming.

"The impact of your shockingly unjust trial and imprisonment has spread far and wide. Especially among your fellow artists, musicians and citizens around the world, including the many parents who feel your anguish at being separated from your children. While understanding the sensitivities of protesting in a place of worship, we ask that the Russian authorities review these harsh sentences, so that you may return to your children, your families and your lives.

"The right to freedom of expression and dissent is a legitimate one and essential in any kind of democracy. You have been accused of what could be described as 'a victimless' crime, but in our opinion, in a just society, there can be no crime where there is no identifiable 'victim.'

"Your strength, bravery and fearlessness are an inspiration to us all."

The letter was signed by a bunch of outstanding musicians, including likes of Bryan Adams, Animal Collective, Anti-Flag, Arcade Fire, Arch Enemy, Joan Baez, Jeff Beck, Bjork, the Clash, Coldplay, Django Django, Franz Ferdinand, Foster the People, Sir Bob Geldof, Debbie Harry, PJ Harvey, Sir Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Sean Lennon, Sir Paul McCartney, Massive Attack, Moby, Tom Morello, Alanis Morissette, Karen O, Yoko Ono, Ozzy Osbourne, Phoenix, Portishead, Portugal. The Man, Radiohead, Rise Against, Scissor Sisters, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Michael Stipe, Pete Townshend, U2 and Eddie Vedder among others.

In February 2012, members of Pussy Riot performed mere seconds of a protest song in Moscow's main Orthodox cathedral that was critical of authorities in Russia. Last year the group was supported by many famous musicians, including Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sir Paul McCartney and Bjork. One of arrested band members, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released in October 2012.

62 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Do these artists realize that Pussy Riot was jailed for doing things in public like orgies? I mean they literally did disgusting things in public just to freak people out. In any other developed country, they'd likely be jailed for that. There's no denying that russia has a lot of problems and their government is too authoritarian, but Pussy Riot being jailed isn't one of their problems.
    Totally right! The real problem here is the media. People get bad information, everyone thinks Putin is a dictator and he jailed Pussy Riot because he didn't want them to protest. That's not it, but hey, that's what new york times said, it must be true! Stupid dishonest journalists..
    u wrong. for wut they did they must have not mroe than month in jail coz its administrative codex. they showed that if u dance in church - u must be punished with few days in jail by law - but coz it was in church they got years like they killed someone - its just to show that religion is in charge now. (sorry bad eng =O)
    I think it's weird that so many people think that this is going to have any effect at all. It's Russia for crying out loud. It's not exactly the center of human rights.
    Sad but true, it's unfortunatly a nation that seems to gravitate towards authoritarianism. As a nation it's too big, people are too disconnected from the authority to which they're subject, being the biggest single nation on earth, I don't think there's anyway that they could preserve freedom and democracy without recognising the soveriegnty of individual regions and devolving power down to a regional level.
    link no1
    I'm more amused by the fact that this is one of the few times where you see a name like 'Coldplay' so close to 'Arch Enemy'...Yano...other than by the hundreds of Arch Enemy fans saying Coldplay sucks.
    I'm severely disappointed with the attention seekers on here coming out with this 'authoritarianism is awesome' bullshit. Why don't you dipshits take a Holiday in North Korea? Don't get me wrong, you're free to express yourselves, but understand that you are completely irredeemable idiots. The very act of deviating from the majority opinion in which you are engaging is in essence what you are criticising. You ****ing morons.
    Their music sucks and they did something stupid, but srsly, 2 years for that? Just let em go already.
    I think most of us can agree that they should be freed. But I also think most of us can agree that they are also a terrible band and part of us is happy that they are locked up.
    Who gives a f*** if they are terrible, they made a great point in fighting that Putin douchebag. That's what's important.
    Just because you don't like their music doesn't mean they should be in freaking prison. What the hell is wrong with you?
    Once they are free, can I please have that letter? Springsteen, Morello, Elton, Knopfler, McCartney, Vedder mmmmm.....
    I don't think you are qualified to comment on another countries laws unless you are subject to them.
    That is a truly amazingly narrow minded way to view the world.
    Yeah, because America has the right to shove their culture down the throat of any country in the world right? Like they're doing in the Middle-East right now, yeah... MERICUH
    Don't even begin to think that Americas presence in the world is the result of the wishes of the people. Most of us are sick of what our elected officials do in the rest of the world. We're also pretty unhappy about not being able to travel to a lot of places we used to visit, for fear of being attacked by people who don't understand that most of us harbor no ill will towards anyone.
    It doesn't have to be some kind of "AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!" thing to say that there are countries on this planet that have extremely ****ed up legal systems and could benefit from taking examples from other countries.
    Just imagining you as a judge. "Well I wasn't the one being raped, ain't gonna sort out that shit!"
    Huh, I guess that we should let North Korea and Iran know it's okay that their leaders are ruining the chances of good livelihood for their citizens then...
    I am embarrassed by the silence of our own government officials. I know it is technically none of our business, but I think a public denouncing of the imprisonment of these ladies by an American official would be appropriate. Now to the American kids who think it is so trendy and cool to walk around with your Che' t-shirts and bad mouth the older generations: SEE THIS (the imprisonment of these girls??) That is what Communism is really about! Rage against the Machine might rock out, but politically they are morons...and yes I will say that to Morello and Zack's faces. Looks like the old Soviet Union hasn't went away after all. We can't tell putrid Putin what to do, but we can tell him we think he sucks!
    Actually, true communism has never been achieved. This IS NOT what true communism is about. The soviets never got it right. The Soviet Union hasn't gone away? You must be one of those people who thinks "communism" is synonymous to "dictatorship", ignoring everything else about it. The Russian Federation does NOT work like the Soviet Union did, regardless of Putin's power abuse. And before you go off on a tangent, I'm not a communist.
    It doesn't matter if it's under Soviet authority or the Federation, locking them girls up is still against what most Americans believe in (not just the "Like 80 or somethings" The hydra). My family was raised under Adolph Hitler. You have no ****ing clue what I know about dictatorship. I was under the--apparently wrong--impression that people still gave a shit about freedom of expression...while we still have some!
    Aidy Gerrard`
    why the **** should an american come out and say anything about this? For what reason for, what good would it do to see an american comment on this? Get a grip
    I'm embarrassed you represent the "older generation", as I'm sure they would be as embarrassed to hear such news. The lack of respect for SOME in the older generation is due to those such as yourself. You spew trash out your mouth and act like it should be taken seriously because you're "older." Old trash is the same as new trash, it just smells worse. You clearly don't know what Communism is, nor how it is implemented. The arrest of some punk chicks is not communism in any sense of the word. Also no one cares that your family (note: not you) were raised under Hitler. That doesn't mean you have any more knowledge then any other scholars. (In fact based on your response, you've shown less knowledge of the political ideologies of Hitlers era) Zack and Morello are probably looking for a good chuckle, so please, do go tell them your views (ignorant as they are).
    How old do you think I am Mr. Troll? Go back to You Tube and troll there. This site is about music and the free expression thereof. Wow
    People who disagree with your stupid views aren't trolls. Look up what a troll is while you're researching what communism means. You expressed your feelings in a way that made you sound like you were a part of the older generation defending the older generation. You DID say your family grew up under Hitler, which would mean your parents I would assume? Or are you just taking out your ass and trying to get sympathy points by saying it. Pussyriot has nothing to do with communism you dingus. Educate yourself before you attempt to educate others, we will all benefit.
    You still are talking shit. Locking people up for what they did is indeed what happens in a dictatorship. That is my only point and you have been bitching ever since. At least I haven't resorted to name calling which is what people who know they don't have an argument do. Right, I don't know about communism. That is hilarious. Do you have ANY idea how moronic you are sounding?
    Eh, let them rot in prison. They set out to make a point and did it in a totally idiotic and tacky fashion... well done ladies. Now the government is out to prove a point and they will win every time... p.s. for the love of god keep the ski masks on at all times.
    What are your thoughts on North Korea?
    Well, those people dared to have a family member that said something bad about Kim Il-Sung one time in the 1950s. Totally idiotic. The government proved a point, alright...
    Always good to see informed, mature comments on articles like this. Thanks a lot, dude.
    More than 100 musicians... Gee, it certainly will convince Russia to release them if less than 0,000001% of the entire world population wants them freed!! Not saying I think they deserve their punishment though.
    The point isn't how many, but who. These people have a huge following and they can probably stir up some debate if they want to.
    I think the reason for the letter is because of the unduly harsh sentences they were given, and prisons they were sent to. Obviously Pussy Riot go in for shock tactics, which actually seems fairly reasonable given the strong sense of conservatism that the Russian federales have. Plus two of them have young children, they were actually arrested for things generally deemed "offensive", so it does seem that they've had the book thrown at them. I'm not sure it's helpful to use this for sarcasm though, Russia is a place where trading tapes of The Beatles would have once gotten you thrown in prison. But you have to admit they took a big risk speaking out - in their own way - against what is pretty obviously Orwellian oppression, for which everyone here should really be applauding them. Sure, we'd go to jail too for doing some of the things Pussy Riot did, but there are several levels of Hell of difference between jail in the West and jail in Russia. Now, we just have to hope Putin and Co. give the slightest toss what Coldplay think of them. Oh, and Dave Grohl of course, I'm sure he's got a plan to collaborate with someone over this