Back in time to September 1976, four long-haired youths in Prague and three in Pilsen were standing trial, accused of behaviour that in the judicial jargon of the time was called hooliganism. In truth, the “hooligans” had done quite banal things, but things that the communists considered “disobedience”. These included wearing their hair long, playing their own music, going out with friends for their own amusement and avoiding the rituals required to demonstrate loyalty to the totalitarian regime.
The Plastic People of the Universe and their friends did not put on a spectacular political provocation, and did not intend to remove anyone from power. Their concerts were held in secret, and if there was anything spectacular about them, it was their lack of interest in what was going on in the Czechoslovak state. They just wanted to live their own lives.
The judge the Pussy Riot trial used the same wording and arguments as the courts that tried the “hooligans” in totalitarian Czechoslovakia. This time it was not long hair but shamelessly short skirts.