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Commentary: Russian ban on Pussy Riot’s music video ‘Punk Prayer’ irrelevant

Courtesy of MCT

The one-year anniversary of the infamous Pussy Riot performance in Moscow that protested the Orthodox Church’s support of President Vladimir Putin is approaching. For the Feb. 21 anniversary, the Russian government has decided to celebrate accordingly and ban the video from all Internet providers within the country, under penalties of a hefty fine.
Censoring the video a year after the incident seems to be a moot point though.
The video, titled “Punk Prayer,” was an anti-Putin, feminist song full of profanity. The act has landed two of the members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, in prison camps for two years each, while a third member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on probation. Guess what that conviction was? “Hooliganism (motivated by religious hatred).”  
The video itself features members in colorful masks playing guitar and jumping around at the front of the church, the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, with several officials attempting to remove them. The real problem was the lyrics though, which – along with the profanity – included lines such as “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away.”  
To stop the feminist video from being viewed, the Russian government has placed a ban on “Punk Prayer.”
Some are applauding the group and calling it radical art, others are saying the women got what they deserved, and I am personally wondering how Russia is going to ensure the video is erased from the Internet.  
Quite honestly, why does it matter anymore?
The video has been circulating the Internet for nearly a year, and if Russian citizens were going to watch the video, they would have done it by now. At this point, most either don’t care or have already watched it.  
The ban, officially enacted on Jan. 30, slaps a $3,000 fine on any Internet provider in Russia that does not remove the video. The ban falls under Russia’s “extremism” law, which was originally intended for neo-Nazis and terrorists.
Once again, the entire Western world seems to be up in flames about the unfairness. People are crying out over the absurdity of the situation and yelling for freedom of expression.   
Yet it seems like the point of the video was made, and if that’s true, does a ban really hold any water? The women intended to voice their opinion of Putin, the church and feminism, and they did. Even more, the steps the Russian government took only catapulted the group to nearly instantaneous fame.
The video did its job.  
So the effects of the ban won’t matter. The world, Russia included, already knows about the women. They already know about their beliefs, so the act of censoring is completely obsolete.  
The Russian government probably could have come up with a better law to place the ban under, especially considering how late the ban came about. The broad “extremism” law has been responsible for targeting anything from Jehovah’s Witnesses’ bible groups to “South Park” and “The Simpsons.”  
Pussy Riot can officially join the ranks of other “extremists” too radical for Russian government to tolerate. In reality though, the Russian government can’t really expect that law to deter or retract from the attention the girl group has already received.  
The banning of the video only draws more attention to Pussy Riot and its cause, but if you plan on visiting Russia any time soon, watch the video before you go, because you surely won’t be able to watch it there.

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