Pussy Riot Band Members Push the Limit of Russian Dissent

by on August 9, 2012 · 3 comments

in Activism, Culture

St. Maria, Virgin, Drive away Putin
Drive away! Drive away Putin!   Pussy Riot

Three members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot have been in custody since February and face a possible prison sentence of up to seven years.  They are charged with “hooliganism on the grounds of religious hatred” for singing their punk prayer “Mother of God- Drive Away Putin” in Moscow’s main Orthodox church.

They entered the church with balaclavas covering their faces and sang about the corruption of the Orthodox church in its support of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.  Their presence was peaceful albeit disruptive. It was a continuation of their protests against Putin, Russia’s  fabrication of criminal charges against opposition protests and unfair elections.  Tens of thousands of the Orthodox faithful were reported to have turned out to protect the church and denounce the women as “devils.”

Hooliganism has a specific chilling meaning in Russia.  It is not to be confused with bad behavior at sports events.  This offense survived the demise of the Soviet Union and continues to refer to “any deliberate behaviour which violates public order and expresses explicit disrespect toward society.”  This is the same one size fits all law that helped fill the Soviet gulags with dissidents, artists and recidivists.

During a court hearing in July, Maria Alyokhina (24), Nadezhda Tolkonnikova (22) and Yekaterina Samutsevish (29) were “handled as dangerous criminals, handcuffed to policewomen and guarded by an officer with an attack dog.”   They have been held without bail and have been ordered to remain in pre-trial custody until January 2013.

Amnesty International has issued an URGENT ACTION, calling for the release of the band members whom they describe in their appeal as prisoners of conscience.  Information on how and where to send an appeal before September 3 is included in their call to action.

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Anna Daniels

I left a moribund Western Pennsylvania mill town the year that Richard M. Nixon was not impeached for crimes against the American people, and set off in search of truth, beauty, justice and a beat I could dance to. Here I am.
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avatar Anna Daniels August 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

The Russian Federation is evidently “sensitive” to international attention on this issue. The article has been viewed by individuals with St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia IP addresses. I hope our readers support the Amnesty International effort to increase international scrutiny and achieve a dismissal of charges against the Pussy Riot band members.

avatar Ilona Kelly August 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm

People can also sign this action online to support pussy riot: http://www.amnestyusa.org/pussyriot

avatar Monty August 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm

People can also read the courtroom closing statements of the defendants, and other related information, at the below website. The group, and their community of artists and activists in Russia, is clearly part of the new global wave of revolutionary resistance and challenge to the continued domination of the “1 percent’.

http://chtodelat.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/open-letter-in-support-of-pussy-riot/

An injury to one is an injury to All!

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