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The Finnish Professor Explains Pussy Riot Action in Helsinki
7.08.2012 15:54
The Finnish Professor Explains Pussy Riot Action in Helsinki
A performance stop during the World City Political Walk, Helsinki (source:

The Russian media widely report about an unsuccessful attempt by a Finnish professor and his students to repeat the Pussy Riot's "punk mass" at the Assumption Cathedral in Helsinki. Prof. Teivo Teivainen published an explanation on his Facebook page

      According to Prof. Teivainen, there was an organised walk around Helsinki on August 3, 2012. The World City Political Walk aimed to "provocatively question the transnational dimension of local issues and places".

      The walk was accompanied by street performances at various spots across the city of Helsinki, including the Orthodox Cathedral of Assumption of Our Lady. There, indeed, stood two people dressed as Pussy Riot band members.

      As the Russian media alleged, Prof. Teivainen and two people in Pussy Riot clothes were going to slip into the cathedral and repeat the "punk mass". Someone close to the clergy reported this, and the cathedral shut the doors. 

      Prof. Teivainen, however, explains that the Assumption Cathedral closes at 4pm, whereas the walk started at 5pm. Since the cathedral was not the only stop on the World City Political Walk, there was no intention whatsoever to enter its premises. Prof. Teivainen also pointed out to his followers that the cathedral was under the Greek Patriarch, not Russian, hence it merely served as a reference. 

      "Uspenski Cathedral was picked as one of the many stops in the World Political City Walk for various reasons. One was that the spokesperson of the Orthodox Church of Finland had commented the same morning the Pussy Riot question in the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. He had compared the Pussy Riot performance in Russia to an imaginary action by Finnish sexual minorities at the grave of (the national hero) Mannerheim on an independence day. I found these comments interesting and reflected on them during the performance", Prof. Teivainen explains on Facebook. 

       "I personally believe that the judicial and other actions against the Pussy Riot performers in Russia include various kinds of threats to human rights and freedom of expression. One of my motivations for including this performance in the World Political City Walk is due to this belief. As with many other kinds of political art, however, the full spectrum of the meanings of the performance at the Uspenski Cathedral should not be simplistically reduced to any single message". 

      Two people who participated in the performance are not Prof. Teivainen's students, contrary to the Russian media reports. The artists who preferred to remain anonymous participated in a Pussy Riot performance at the Muu Gallery during the opening of the Antidote 5 art show.

Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: Pussy Riot World City Political Walk Helsinki Russia-Finland   

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