Pussy Riot’s first English song is a tribute to Eric Garner

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Russia’s premier political punk act wants to take the fight against state oppression global.

Pussy Riot’s first English-language song, “I Can’t Breathe,” is a tribute to Eric Garner, who uttered those words 11 times as he was fatally restrained by NYPD officers last year.

The music video for the stark, insidious track sends an unambiguous message: Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina—two members of the mostly-anonymous band released from prison just over a year ago—wear Russian riot police uniforms and are slowly buried alive in dirt.

At the outset, a camera lingers over a pack of “Russian Spring” cigarettes, a real brand and, the video’s caption says, a reference to a term “used by those who are in love with Russia’s aggressive militant actions in Ukraine.” Eric Garner was allegedly selling loose cigarettes when confronted by police in July.

It won’t be the dance-floor single of the season, but it’s certainly food for thought. “Getting dark in New York City,” indeed.

Photo via PussyRiotVideo/YouTube

Miles Klee

Miles Klee

Miles Klee is a novelist and web culture reporter. The former editor of the Daily Dot’s Unclick section, Klee’s essays, satire, and fiction have appeared in Lapham’s Quarterly, Vanity Fair, 3:AM, Salon, the Awl, the New York Observer, the Millions,  and the Village Voice. He's the author of two odd books of fiction, 'Ivyland' and 'True False.'