Pussy Riot releases first English song, ‘I Can’t Breathe’

by
Jessica Renae Buxbaum
The Russian punk band releases song 'I Can't Breathe' inspired by the brutal police killings of African-Americans.

The Russian punk band, Pussy Riot released their first English-speaking song entitled “I Can’t Breathe” – inspired by the final words of New York Police chokehold victim Eric Garner.

The group members, Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, wrote the song after participating in protests against police brutality in New York last December.

Following the brutal police killing of Garner captured on video in Staten Island, “I Can’t Breathe” became an anthem for justice and a symbol of the ongoing police violence and oppression against African-Americans in the United States.

"Those words are his, but we hope they can also stand for us and for many around the world, for all who can’t breathe because authorities act with impunity and feel invincible and above the law in using power to humiliate, intimidate, hurt, kill and oppress," the group said in an interview with The Guardian.

The video depicts the musicians being buried alive in Russian police uniforms. “We were realizing that Russia is burying itself alive in terms of the rest of the world. Committing suicide. Daily," the musicians told BuzzFeed News.

The band is empathetic towards those experiencing violence and oppression as they have experienced firsthand police brutality in response to their criticism of Russian president Vladimir Putin's unwavering control of Ukraine.

"We’ve known, on our own skin, what police brutality feels like and we can’t be silent on this issue," the group said.

Carbonated.TV