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5 Reasons Pussy Riot Has Already Won (Video)

5 Reasons Pussy Riot Has Already Won (Video)
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At the end of this week on August 17, judge Marina Syrova will issue a verdict in the trial of feminist punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Jailed since March, they have been charged with “hooliganism,” of “gross violation of the public order and religious hatred,” for lip-syncing for 40 seconds to a “punk prayer” (“Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Out!”) in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21, following a protest against Russian president Vladimir Putin and charges of fraud in parliamentary elections. The three women could face up to seven years in prison though comments by Putin last week that they not be judged “too severely” suggest they may not receive the full sentence.

The trial of Alyokhina, Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova has become a “certified international cause,” as Michael Idov, editor in chief of GQ Russia, wrote in a New York Times op-ed. Amnesty International has named the three women “prisoners of conscience”; the US government has expressed concerns; Madonna, Bjork and hundreds of artists and performers have voiced support; more than 40,000 Russians have signed a petition protesting their arrest and detention; Russian civic and cultural figures have petitioned the country’s Supreme Court human rights ombudsperson for their release.

Within Russia itself, support for Pussy Riot is mixed. Only 43 percent of Russians polled said that they think a two-to-seven sentence for Alyokhina, Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova is “disproportionate,” writes Katrina vanden Heuvel in The Nation.

Patriarch Kirill I — who has said that the church is under attack — has been recently silent but Russian Orthodox groups have seized on the trial as an opportunity to air “strident, even fundamentalist” views about religion and the role of the church in Russia. The New York Times describes members of one group burning posters of Pussy Riot in an “exorcism.” Witnesses called by the prosecution — people inside the church at the time of the performance or who had watched a viral YouTube video of it — were asked questions including “What does your Orthodox faith mean to you?” and “Was the women’s clothing tight?”. The prosecution has seemed to be seeking to build a “spiritual indictment” against Pussy Riot, accusing the three women of committing “moral harm” and “engaging in “Satanism.”

It’s not just three members of a feminist punk band, sitting in a glass box and looking exhausted, who have been on trial. As Samutsevich said in her closing statement last Friday:

I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Putin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community. That is all. Thank you.

Five reasons that, even if Alyokhina, Samutsevich and Tolokonnikova are judged guilty, Pussy Riot has, in Samutsevich’s words, won.

Photo by Person Behind the Scenes

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68 comments

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6:48AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

Keep it riot.

7:30AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

They just got a two year prison sentence!! Shameful.

5:33AM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Pussy Riot has been found guilty. Just read about it on Yahoo! news. They will be sentenced later on today. Sad sad day. But we all know how Russia AND Putin are, right?!!

1:47PM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

I am on the fence whether viewing this group is as being a positive or negative in relation to Russia's acceptance of human rights.
Of course, the government hate these girls. As much as I support their cause, I can also understand Russia in controlling them.

4:54AM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Praying for the safety and release of all these women!

2:58AM PDT on Aug 15, 2012

Stupid Women !

11:13PM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Aug 17 is only a few days away. I will send powerful thoughts and prayers that Putin does want to be liked by the world and not lose face, so that he will want to appear benevolent and therefore will be leaning towards greatly reduced sentence... Better yet, release them!!
This heavy duty fundamentalism is a scary thing. Not limited to Russia.
I love Art, so i am very very sad that this happened to these young women activist Artists. I pray for their well being.

3:33PM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Pussy Riot Rules!!!

8:37AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

As I'm very well familiar with Russia and I've spent a lot of time there as an exchange student I feel very bad about the declining human rights situation in Russia at the moment. The jailing and trial process performed by the Russian authorities towards Pussy Riot just pinpoint that Russia is moving in the wrong direction: Away from human rights and a free speech towards a much more totalitarian regime.
While in Russia, I lived in a host family (a mother and her 20 year old daughter) and we talked a lot about the situation in todays Russia. This was aprox. 4-5 years ago. The mother stated that she missed the Soviet union because at that time they had food on the table, free health care, free schooling etc and they didn't have to pretend that they had free speech. They knew what to expect. This woman told me that "today you never know, because the documents say one thing but the reality is something completely different".
The Pussy Riot process is just the story we get to know here, but believe me, this is just one of all the tragedies appearing all over Putin's Russia.
FREE PUSSY RIOT NOW!

8:24AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

Thanks.

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