Young people from former Soviet Union countries share their impressions of Seattle (Produced by Valeria Koulikova in a UW Communication Dept video workshop)

I’m proud to be one of hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Russia and Post-Soviet Republics currently living in Washington State.

I’ve been in Seattle for over seven years now and I’ve met a lot of fellow immigrants. We’ve built friendships and helped each other preserve our cultural values. One thing almost everyone has in common is a love for the Pacific Northwest.

But no matter which country they come from, modern Russian politics have always been a sensitive subject. Disagreements over political issues–especially opinions about Vladimir Putin–have even created tensions between strangers and friends.

Corina Bakker of the Tempers delivers her “Free Pussy Riot, F**k Mitt Romney” message at the Comet last weekend. (Photo by Sarah Stuteville)

The music is defiant, the bartenders studiously inattentive and the balaclavas sequined.

If it weren’t for the smell of grilled onions wafting in from the hotdog stand outside and the cold beer (instead of warm vodka) I could still be in Moscow.

But I’m at the Comet on Capitol Hill watching Corina Bakker of The Tempers growl out “Free Pussy Riot!” in all of her ecstatic, bloody-kneed and mini-skirted glory.

This is one of at least three benefit shows for jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot in Seattle in the past few weeks.

And around the corner on 11th Ave a huge feminist mural featuring Free Pussy Riot graffiti and fliers has taken over the entire side of an abandoned building.

This is all to say that Seattle is a real Pussy Riot kindofa town.

I spent my first night in Kazakhstan at a punk show in the hills surrounding the capital, Almaty.

There were 22’s of local beer, calf tattoos, bikes, a guy named “Joy” bragging about his small family farm and French Screamo music. It could have been a late summer evening in Seattle – well, minus the presence of heavily bribed park guards and bored-looking horses.

Globalist video on Zhanaozen shooting and interview with survivors. Contains graphic imagery.

What do a communist, an ultra-nationalist and a gay rights activist have in common?

In Russia, they all oppose the regime of President Vladimir Putin.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in central Moscow on Saturday in the first major protest in three months, proving that the anti-Putin movement still has the numbers, even if they can’t agree on much else.