Campaigners are hoping that pop superstar Madonna will publicly express her support for three imprisoned members of the feminist punk collective ***** Riot when she gives a concert in Moscow this week.
Three members of ***** Riot – Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich – face up to seven years in prison if found guilty on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
The trio were arrested after going to Moscow's Christ the Saviour cathedral in February and performing a "punk prayer" critical of the Orthodox church's support for the president, Vladimir Putin.
The women's plight has become a cause célèbre in the music world, with numerous stars taking a public stance in their support of the group.
American rockers Faith No More started the trend by inviting members of the Russian group who remain free to join them on stage during a recent performance at Moscow's Stadium Live club.
Anthony Kiedis, lead singer with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the name ***** Riot at a recent concert in St Petersburg. Indie band Franz Ferdinand, Peter Gabriel and Sting have all also issued messages of support.
"Surely the Russian authorities will completely drop these spurious charges and allow the women, these artists, to get back to their lives and to their children," Sting said in a statement. Meanwhile, a group of British musicians, including Jarvis Cocker, the lead singer of Pulp, and the Who's Pete Townshend published an open letter of support in the Times last week.
So far Madonna has not gone as far as her music industry comrades. The group view the star as an inspiration because of her willingness to upset the Roman Catholic church with her music, but she has not come out openly in support of them. In a recent television interview with a state-run Russian station, Madonna would only say she was "sorry that they've been arrested".
When Madonna takes the stage in Moscow this week, there will be many ***** Riot fans and supporters in Russia and around the world hoping that she will take a stronger stance.
Ps.- Sorry the link for the story is not working but the damn censors alter the url, it's in The Guardian.
Madonna. Rihanna. Christina Aguilera. Katy Perry. Britney Spears. Nicki Minaj. Mariah Carey. Taylor Swift. Ke$ha. Adele. Beyonce. Jennifer Lopez. Lily Allen.
I'm learning lessons to make mistakes
. . .If I get burned, no embers break.
You told me I'm my destiny
. . . While your power gets the best of me..
Repeatedly, I get neglected.
. . .You claim that I am unperfected..
They really could have found a better picture of Madonna.
The woman who introduced the world to the cone bra does not slope off into irrelevance. The woman who slapped a Chihuahua dressed as a gimp on the bum does not dissolve into a humourless, banal heap. She is Madonna and will continue to do Madonna-like things until she dances merrily off this mortal coil.