The University of Colorado Boulder welcomes acclaimed Russian-American author, journalist, and LGBT activist Masha Gessen for a discussion of her newly released book “Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot” on Thursday, April 24 at 7:00 pm on the CU Boulder Campus in Eaton Humanities, Room 150.
On February 21, 2012, five young women of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, clad in neon-colored dresses and tights, performed a “punk prayer” begging the Mother of God to “get rid of Putin” in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. They were quickly arrested, tried and sentenced to prison but the incident captured international attention and footage of their performance went viral. People across the globe recognized this as not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies and deception, found a new way to speak the truth. Gessen’s riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families, including her interviews with them during the time they were imprisoned in Russian penal colonies, she reconstructs the personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express It and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that has been the price of their triumph.