Pussy Riot Shares Dystopian 'Police State' Video Starring Chloe Sevigny

Courtesy Photo
Pussy Riot "Police State"

On the anniversary of both the Russian Revolution and the 2016 presidential election that elevated a reality TV personality/real estate mogul to the top of our nation's government, feminist art collective Pussy Riot shared a new song and video, titled "Police State" on Wednesday (Nov. 8).

Actress Chloe Sevigny (The Snowman) stars in the video as the titular baton-wielding police woman, breaking up the small groups of masked women for riot control, swinging her weapon, for the most part, at piles of children's toys in a decrepit trailer park. Small children dressed like the collective are strapped into their seats, forced to watch the world crash and burn under unfit leadership as images of Pres. Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin smiling and shaking hands flicker on a bank of TV screens. 

The song eerily juxtaposes the idea of "smile for the camera" with its dark reasoning, overlaying the cheery sounding pop song with critical lyrics over the explicit, violent visuals. The song opens, "Big smile for the camera/ it’s always on," which is echoed in the poppy chorus, "Oh my god I’m so happy I could die."

Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova released a lengthy statement in a press release that accompanied the video. She turned her focus to the state of America on this one-year anniversary of Trump's election. "What was in fact blown up on 8th of November 2016 was the social contract, the paradigm that says that you can live comfortably without getting your hands dirty with politics."

Tolokonnikova continued, calling on the people to harness the enormous power they still have, saying, "But we're more than atoms, separated and frightened by TV and mutual distrust, hidden in the cells of our houses behind screens, venting anger and resentment at ourselves and others. If you have to point at an enemy, our greatest enemy is apathy. We’d be able to achieve fantastic results if we were not trapped by the idea that nothing can be changed."

The artist isn't all talk, no game, though, if that wasn't clear enough. Tolokonnikova expanded on what she was doing to fight the police state after being released from prison, stating, "We do fight with the police state in Russia; since we've been released from jail we started an independent media outlet Mediazona that covers what's happening in Russian courtrooms, police stations, prison, labor camps. With lawyers of "Zona Prava" (Zone of Justice) we're fighting for prisoners - helping them to get medication and better conditions, get out of jail, open criminal cases against guards and cops who break the law and abuse their power."

Pussy Riot is set to make their onstage debut in the states to a sold out crowd in LA on Dec. 13, before heading to Houston's Day For Night festival on Dec. 15.