Pussy Riot for Rights.. Put Putin OUT!

A lawyer for members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot has appealed their convictions on charges of “hooliganism” for a protest against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral earlier this year, Reuters reports, even as the musicians say they’re more committed than ever to seeking the removal of Putin.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were each sentenced to two years in prisonAugust 17th for their February “punk-prayer” demonstration in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. Their lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, said he doubts the court will reverse the convictions. “If the court abides by the law it would throw out the verdict,” Polozov said. “But being realists, understanding all the efforts the state has put into this case, we think it’s unlikely the verdict will be overturned.”

Protesters wearing masks take part in an Amnesty International flash mob demonstration in support of Russian punk band Pussy Riot in the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.(REUTERS / David Moir)

Musicians including Paul McCartney, Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers have expressed support for Pussy Riot in a case that has drawn widespread criticism for being a politically motivated show trial intended to suppress dissent against Putin.

Police in Russia had been seeking additional members of Pussy Riot, two of whom fled the country over the weekend. One of the jailed rockers, Samutsevich, told The Guardian that the trial strengthened their resolve to push for change.

“Our verdict shows just how scared Putin’s regime is of anyone who can undermine its legitimacy,” she said, in response to written questions the newspaper submitted through the band’s lawyer.

Samutsevich said the future of Pussy Riot is uncertain for now, though their commitment to political reform has only grown stronger. “We, along with many citizens of our country, are burning even more with the desire to finally take from Putin his monopoly on power, since his image no longer seems so total and terrible,” she said.  Rolling Stone

 

Image from Facebook user San Precario
Image from Facebook user San Precario

The St. Nicolas Cathedral in Vienna is administrated by Russia’s Orthodox Church. On Wednesday, the clerics called on the Austrian authorities not to turn a blind eye to the “blasphemy.” They also said the cathedral would be “cleansed” by a prayer to God to expunge hatred and spite.

In Helsinki, three unrelated girls stripped outside the Russian Embassy Wednesday. The words on their chests formed the message “Free Pussy Riot!” Ten days earlier, another group of Pussy Riot supporters tried to enter a Helsinki cathedral, but were banished to perform outside.

­

Pussy Riot Solidarity Act at Helsinki′s Orthodox Uspenski Catherdal (Image from Facebook)
Pussy Riot Solidarity Act at Helsinki’s Orthodox Uspenski Catherdal (Image from Facebook)

Politicians and celebs slam Pussy Riot case

Since the latest court session, Pussy Riot’s supporters have mobilized the world over to press the Russian authorities, if not into freeing the band members, then at least into easing their punishment. This should culminate on Friday, when a simultaneous protest is planned in 43 cities worldwide as the court announces its verdict.

Meanwhile, political pressure has also been building up. In the previous week, German MPs sent a letter to the Russian ambassador calling the five months the band members have spent in custody and the possible prison terms a “draconian and disproportionate” punishment. The US State Department has repeatedly voiced its concerns over the case.

Some officials have put aside their official ways. In this connection, Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr Sunday rode through the streets of the Icelandic capital in a Gay Pride parade dressed like a Pussy Riot band member – wearing a bright pink dress and matching balaclava – and lip synching a Pussy Riot song.

­

Screenshot from video by YouTube user porkkalaporkkala shows Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr during his pro-Pussy Riot stunt
Screenshot from video by YouTube user porkkalaporkkala shows Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr during his pro-Pussy Riot stunt

Madonna wrote the name of the band on her back while performing in Moscow (and later a Russian ultra-religious group burnt down her portraits over the “blasphemy). Sting, Bjork, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Franz Ferdinand are just some of those who have spoken out in support of the group.

American actress Alicia Silverstone has also personally addressed President Putin. The celebrity grew worried that Maria Alyokhina, who is a vegetarian, is not being fed appropriately while in administrative detention. Silverstone asked Putin “to ensure that vegan meals are available to Ms. Alyokhina.

In their closing statements, Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich again said it was an ethical mistake to bring their action to the Cathedral, and denied charges of hooliganism driven by religious hatred.

They said their action was politically motivated, since they wanted to criticize what they saw as a coalescence of Russia’s ruling elite with the Orthodox Church. Earlier, the girls stated they went to the Cathedral after Patriarch Kirill named Vladimir Putin “a miracle from God” who had “rectified the crooked path of history,” effectively calling on believers to vote for him in the upcoming presidential poll.

The girls’ performance, which involved short, bright dresses, high kicking and calls to Virgin Mary to become a feminist, is said to have gravely offended many believers. The Russian Orthodox Church refuses to comment on the trial, but hints that without due repentance there can be no forgiveness. Still, according to the latest polls by the independent Levada Center, 58 per cent of Russians believe a jail term for the Pussy Riot would be excessive.

­

Protesters wear balaclavas and colourful dresses, in the style of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, outside the Russian embassy in Berlin.(REUTERS / Thomas Peter)
Protesters wear balaclavas and colourful dresses, in the style of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, outside the Russian embassy in Berlin.(REUTERS / Thomas Peter)

One thought on “Pussy Riot for Rights.. Put Putin OUT!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.