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Sex, Politics, and PutinPolitical Legitimacy in Russia$
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Valerie Sperling

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199324347

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199324347.001.0001

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When Pussy Riots: Feminist Activism in Russia

When Pussy Riots: Feminist Activism in Russia

(p.222) 6 When Pussy Riots: Feminist Activism in Russia
Sex, Politics, and Putin

Valerie Sperling

Oxford University Press

This is the third case study chapter on the use of gender norms and sexualization as political tools in Russia. It investigates a new wave of Russian feminist activism that began in 2010, and the analyses of politics and political legitimacy that this activism offers. This chapter shows that some self-identified feminist groups, such as Pussy Riot, consciously make use of the same patriarchal paradigm used by pro-regime and liberal activists, while other Russian feminist groups—outside the cultural spotlight—overtly critique the sexism and homophobia that they see displayed across the political arena. The chapter presents Russian feminists’ explanations for the prevalence of gender norms and sexualization in Russian politics, including the role of the Russian Orthodox Church. It examines the Pussy Riot trial and the repression of other instances of feminist protest to highlight the regime’s antagonism to feminist ideology. The Ukrainian group Femen is also discussed.

Keywords:   Pussy Riot, Femen, feminism, Russian Orthodox Church, Russian feminist movement, Russian politics, activism, sexism, homophobia

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