Topic: Punk Group Pussy Riot Case
MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti, Alexey Eremenko)
The Kremlin has hijacked Orthodox Christianity and turned it into a propaganda prop for the regime, which is why the secular authorities are now punishing feminist band Pussy Riot for their “punk prayer” in a church, arrested band members said on Wednesday.
“We dared to mix Christian culture and protest culture…and so the authorities decided to protect society from our way of thinking,” Yekaterina Samutsevich said from a defendants’ glass cage in a Moscow courtroom.
The eighth day of the Pussy Riot trial, which marked the end of its main phase, leaving only the verdict due on August 17, was reserved exclusively for the group’s final speeches.
It was also their first chance to speak in public in five months since their arrests, and they have seized the chance, turning their speeches into political indictment of President Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of masterminding their trial.
Each defiant speech was followed by a burst of applause from a crowd of some 50 journalists and supporters squeezed into a packed courtroom of Moscow’s Khamovnichesky District Court.
The first two rounds of applause were cut short by the judge and a court marshal, respectively. “You’re not at the theater!” Judge Marina Syrova snapped, losing her inscrutable look for a moment.
The third round, however, went uninterrupted, scoring a minor victory for either freedom of expression or unruly behavior, depending on the perspective.
Group members also received a standing ovation as they were led out from their glass enclosement, the sound of furious clapping sending a police dog into a frenzy.
Three Pussy Riot members could face up to seven years in jail on hooliganism charges over an anti-Putin song they performed in a Moscow cathedral in February.
The group members insist the event was a political performance, but the prosecution claims they were inciting religious hatred.
Putin denied influencing the process when confronted by journalists last Thursday, but denounced the stunt. Church head Patriarch Kirill has refused to speak out until the trial is over.
Putin has also called for a milder punishment for the Pussy Riot members last week. Five days after his statement, the prosecutor only requested three years’ jail for them, four years less than the maximum possible sentence.
In their final speeches, the three young feminists underscored the political nature of their “punk prayer,” which followed Patriarch Kirill endorsing Putin’s presidential bid.
By relying on religion, the Kremlin capitalized on the universal respect for Christianity in Russia left from Soviet times, when the embattled church had to survive ideological and administrative pressure from the atheist regime, Samutsevich said.
But the plan failed to work because a growing number of believers support Pussy Riot, group member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said in the courtroom.
The speeches came laden with philosophical terms and a lengthy list of references including, but not limited to, Montaigne, Pythagoras, Joseph Brodsky, the Bible, religious philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev and avant-garde art group Oberiu from the 1920s and 1930s.
All group members said they expected their “sham trial” to end in conviction, but were ready to face it.
“I’m not afraid of you,” Maria Alyokhina, the third defendant, said with a shake of her bush of hair. “You cannot take away my inner freedom.”
Defense lawyers shared the pessimism. “They’ll be convicted for sure,” Violetta Volkova told RIA Novosti on the sidelines of the trial.
But the authorities are undecided on how hard to punish the group members, whose case has enraged the Russian “creative class”, or young educated urbanites who were the driving force of the recent anti-Putin protests, and damaged Putin’s reputation worldwide, Volkova said.
The list of Pussy Riot’s supporters includes Faith No More, Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers, while Amnesty International rights watchdog has recognized them prisoners of conscience.
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- PETEPETEPETE(no title)21:03, 08/08/2012Queens of Cliché are going all out with the political/ideological clichés.
As for the "creative class" what is happening in the West speaks for itself. Most of that tendency to think of themselves as "enlightened" and with more refined feelings etc...and yet they are always the first to sell out and/or being manipulated precisely because they have a superiority complex.
And still not a word about the military-economic-cultural assault on Mankind by the US-led West neither from them or the artists that defend them. Highly revealing...
- Panthera PardusAmnesty International rights watchdog has recognized them prisoners of conscience.21:27, 08/08/2012how happy I am that I suspendend my donation to amnesty international long time ago.
and the hypocrisy of the west, the hypocrisy .. if this has been made in a sinagogue they would have written encyclopedia about antisemitism ..
or if this happened in a major cathedral in Germany, here that 1 out of 5 member of parlament signed in favour of "the pussy riot"..
- moistSo go west then! F*ck off already!22:04, 08/08/2012..If you so full of self hatred.
You cant change your origin you know.Russia is Russia and the fascist neo-liberal regimes and their Zionist lackeys that will give you 5 minutes of glory are the west. Good luck, enjoy your 5 minutes....
- moistBTW..22:10, 08/08/2012....Nice Otpor Logo. György Swchartz aka George Soros carries a lot of sh*t wheter he call it femen,Otpor or Pussy but only one and the same *sshole. That will be your dinner when you´r 5m is up...
- bielecThese clowns don't have any consideration for others03:58, 09/08/2012They think it's OK to shake their pussies in a church, they probably would do it in a cemetary.
This was not a political protest - a real protest should be conducted in a serious manner, with dignity. This was a foolery and a delibetare profanation of a place other people consider sacred.
If this happened in a mosque, you would have the Muslim populations in several countries rioting and demanding punishment. But these self-righteous and narrow-minded punks want to be heroes, they want to impress their friends.
At least the journalists should have been more rational and more realistic. Their reaction proves that they know nothing about realpolitics. How did they ever become journalists?
I hope that such acts and behaviours don’t become a fashion in Russia. This president was elected by the majority of votes and everybody has to respect it. Playing "My-Way-Or-No-Way" has nothing to do with democracy.
- bielecThis is not an isolated incident11:37, 10/08/2012Don't let these punks to become a symbol of the young generation's "revolution."
Look, she is already acting like one. The fist on her T-shirt, the fist at the end of her arm.
They may be young and idealistic, but they express negative emotions and they don't really understand what is going on. Somebody os using them to create more social unrest for Russia.
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Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.