Politics

Russian Diplomat’s Sexist Attack On Pussy Riot

Emails obtained by BuzzFeed show a Russian diplomat disparaging Russian dissidents, praising Stalin, and talking about America’s “homosexual authoritarianism.”

Nadya Tolokonnikova (center) and Maria Alyokhina (center left) of Pussy Riot. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

WASHINGTON — A senior diplomat at the Russian embassy in Washington made sexist statements about Pussy Riot in 2012 emails, suggesting that the all-female protest group “just need a good fuck.”

In emails to a U.S. government official working on Russian human rights issues obtained by BuzzFeed on the stipulation of anonymity for both parties, the Russian official mused about Pussy Riot, who were at the time about to go on trial for an anti-Putin protest inside Moscow’s main Orthodox church. BuzzFeed has viewed the emails and agreed not to publish the names to protect the anonymity of the correspondents.

“Life is strange — kill 12 people in a movie theater, and you are a psyco boy, maniac; show your ass in a nation biggest cathedral — and they will call you a prisoner of conscience,” the official wrote, referring to the mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater that summer.

The U.S. official responded: “It’s hard to be a prisoner of conscience without being in prison, not saying their performance wasn’t offensive or even illegal, but fines for trespassing would be a little more ‘European’ than the SIZO… and I don’t understand your point on the Aurora shootings.” “SIZO” is a Russian pre-trial detention center.

The Russian diplomat responded that the women of Pussy Riot “are simply not happy in their sexual lives.”

“How can you know it wasn’t offensive?” the Russian diplomat wrote. “Novaya gazeta is saying that, or you guys held hearing on it?” he asked, referring to Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s only investigative newspaper. “Imagine someone did that somewhere in Saudi Arabia, one of the greatest democracies on Earth and the U.S. ally. By the way, Russia is a orthodox (predominantly) country, so they had rather think twice before doing it. Now they have to be held accountable, as you put it.
Generally, I am of the opinion that those pussies are simply not happy in their sexual life. And that makes them riot. They simply need a good f..k, not SIZO. Unfortunately, we don’t have such a capital punishment in our criminal law.”

Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina of Pussy Riot are in the United States this week, where they attended several White House Correspondents Dinner events and lobbied lawmakers on Capitol Hill to push for more additions to the Magnitsky List of Russians banned from traveling to or keeping money in the U.S. Both were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after the group’s church protest and sentenced to two years in prison. They were pardoned by Vladimir Putin in December and released three months early.

The diplomat in question has sent other offensive emails, including one from this year warning of “homosexual authoritarianism” threatening the U.S. and one from last year describing his nostalgia for Stalin, who “fucked” a “feminine” Russia.

“One thing about Stalin is that with him Russian state was at its highest,” the diplomat wrote in 2013. “I am convinced without this guy we would never launch Gagarin in outer space, though it happened a bit later,” he wrote, referring to Yury Gagarin, the first man in space and a Soviet hero. “Yes he kinda fucked Russia, but Russian soul is feminine by it’s nature. So I believe we need to step back and look at him in a longer perspective, like the French did with Napoleon. It’s complicated like so many things in Russian history.”

In an email titled “gay SOS,” the diplomat writes: “In Russia when someone does studies of a foreign country, he or she is most probably trUly in love with it. I am myself was deeply in love with France. Now it doesn’t work here in the States. Why most of Russia watchers in Washington DC are indeed Russia haters? Probably because this is a Cold War legacy. You studied USSR to know your enemy. Now the only way to make Russia a living is to help hating it - be it Vladimir Putin or human rights. Actually I was thinking about homosexual authoritarism [sic] threatening America. Here is a good piece on Arizona buzz. Why don’t anyone write something similar about Russian anti-propaganda law? The answer my friend is blowing with the wind….
http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/jan-brewers-foolish-veto-104014.html?hp=l1s”

In another email from this year about a PSA produced by a group called the Fair Games Project protesting Russia’s anti-gay law in light of the Sochi Olympics, the diplomat questioned why Russia is being criticized when other countries can “legally kill fags.”

“Of note, not a single face there I could recognize as Russian. But anyway we are clearly losers by their own standards: they claim only a minor penalty for being gay in Russia (which is not true), while others can legally kill fags or send them in prison. Rossija vpered!” (“Russia Forward!”).

“We do not comment on private correspondence of unknown and unnamed persons,” said Yevgeniy Khorishko, press officer at the Russian Embassy. “Such alleged correspondence has nothing to do with the embassy.”

update

Updated with comment from a Russian Embassy spokesperson.

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