Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the female punk band "Pussy Riot", is escorted by police before a court hearing in Moscow August 8, 2012.
Credits: Maxim Shemetov/REUTERS
Admittedly, it's a bit of a controversial name.
But in the global punk scene - which has produced countless bands with unseemly handles like the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedys, Bad Religion and The Circle Jerks - having a shocking name is standard fare. So, too, offensive lyrics, offensive messages and offensive behaviour.
Punks are generally young, and usually angry. They're angry about the government, about society, about war, about racism, about the state of the environment, about their parents or teachers or whatever.
Being young and angry is central to the punk rock ethos. (I should know, I've been involved in the punk scene in Canada since I was 15 years old.)
Punk, in the main, is all about stirring up s---. Punks believe that, when you wake people up from their torpor - with a shocking song, or performance - you have a better shot at motivating them. You have a chance to mobilize people and make the planet a better place.
Punks, while mostly on the Left, also distrust governments and other big institutions. They don't seek government or corporate handouts, and the central tenet of the punk faith is DIY - Do It Yourself. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you.
Vladimir Putin doesn't get, or doesn't care, about any of that. He oversees Russia like a czar, after all. He's a big man, with lots of power. He's also a smirking, pompous, corrupt, kickboxing thug who runs his country like Tony Soprano runs a racket. And he doesn't mind beating up on girls.
Pussy Riot is a Russian all-girl punk band. They, like most sensible people inside and outside Russia, think Putin is an anti-democratic gangster. When Putin announced he was running for yet another term as Russian president, Pussy Riot were pissed off.
Because Putin's regime and the leadership of Russian Orthodox Church are virtually indistinguishable, the members of Pussy Riot decided to stage a protest. The band's members - all baptized Christians - figured they'd mock Putin on the steps of Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral.
But they made a bit of a mistake. Instead of protesting outside, they did it inside. No mass was underway and no one was actually in the building at the time, apart from a few security guards. The girls performed a "punk prayer," as they called it, imploring the Virgin Mother to "put Putin away."
The girls were inside the church for about 40 seconds, and then led out by the guards. The church was unhappy, of course, but no one else really took notice. Until Putin decided to curry favour with Russian Orthodox voters, that is.
He summarily threw three of the band's members in prison in March, on charges of "blasphemy." Two of them are mothers, and haven't been permitted to see their children. They have been subjected to sleep deprivation, have been slowly starved and their trial - which concluded this week - has made Stalinist show trials look like models of justice.
Everyone from Madonna to Sting to Yoko Ono have strongly protested the girls' imprisonment and the mockery that was their trial.
(My own band has been trying to raise money for Pussy Riot's legal defence, too. Check www.warrenkinsella.com.) Various countries sent diplomatic observers to the trial, and most of the international media covered it, astonished that this could be happening in a supposedly democratic state in 2012.
A verdict is expected August 17 and the prosecution is seeking years of imprisonment.
International rallies are slated to take place on the same day to demand freedom for Pussy Riot.
Maybe you don't like punk rock all that much. But if you value freedom - and if you oppose tyranny, as QMI Agency readers always have - add your voice to the growing punk chorus.
The girls in Pussy Riot need your help.
The cause of freedom, too.