Pussy Riot: Russian Punk Band Releases ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Tribute to Eric Garner [Video]

Controversial Russian punk band Pussy Riot have released their first song in English and true to form, the song is a rebellious and anti-establishment tribute to Eric Garner, the black man choked to death by New York police officers. Garner’s death in July 2014 led to a wave of protest across the U.S. with many adopting “I can’t breathe” as a form of protest.

Pussy Riot, whose members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova spent nearly two years in a Russian prison for a protest performance at a Moscow cathedral, said their song is inspired by the death of Eric Garner and dedicated to all of those “who can’t breathe.”

Pussy Riot says that the “industrial ballad” is dedicated to Eric Garner and all those “around the globe who suffer from state terror.” Sky News says that a statement posted alongside the video to the song on the Pussy Riot YouTube channel said, “this song is for Eric and for all those from Russia to America and around the globe who suffer from state terror – killed, choked, perished because of war and state sponsored violence of all kinds – for political prisoners and those on the streets fighting for change. We stand in solidarity.”

According to the Guardian, the video for the Pussy Riot song shows Nadya and Masha dressed in the blue uniform of Russia’s riot police, lying in a grave. They are slowly buried alive.

In an e-mail to Buzzfeed, Pussy Riot explained that the uniform choice was meant to demonstrate that “illegal violence in the name of the state kills not only its victims, but those who are chosen to carry out these actions. Policemen, soldiers, agents, they become hostages and are buried with those they kill, both figuratively and literally.”

In a question and answer session with Mashable Pussy Riot condemned what has been happening in Russia. Asked about the symbolism of being buried alive in the video they said that they thought that Russia is being buried alive.

“After what occurred in 2014 our nation will never be viewed the same way again by the rest of the world.”

“If freedom could speak, it would say about Russia, ‘I cannot breathe.’ During the course of 2014, almost all of the independent media were destroyed. Dozens of political activists received real prison sentences. Under the effect of propaganda of military action in the east of Ukraine, as it was initiated by Putin, many young men went to fight and were consequently killed in action. Their bodies were buried in secret, remaining nameless.”

“We the people who live in Russia, cannot breathe. We continue to be buried alive, yet we do not resist. Our will to resist was taken away from us.”

Pussy Riot has taken part in a number of protests since its formation four years ago, with the Putin regime in Russia as the group’s main target. It is unlikely in the extreme that Pussy Riot will be any more popular with the Putin regime after this latest musical protest.