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Pussy Riot Member: “Our Verdict Shows Just How Scared Putin’s Regime Is”

Pussy Riot Member: “Our Verdict Shows Just How Scared Putin’s Regime Is”

Three members of the punk protest band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in a prison colony earlier this month for performing a protest song in a Moscow cathedral in February. They were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” by the judge, Marina Syrova.

The three women, and the larger Pussy Riot movement, have now become international icons in the fight for feminist rights and freedom of speech. Their trial has also had a global impact on the way President Putin’s current government is viewed around the world. Wide criticism has fomented over its alliance with the strictly conservative Russian Orthodox Church.

One of the imprisoned members, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was able to give the Guardian some written statements about the women’s treatment and their recent verdict. She told reporters:

More than anything, our trial showed the dependence of the justice system, and its direct authority, on Putin’s power, which clearly should not be the case in a government that calls itself democratic… Our verdict shows just how scared Putin’s regime is of anyone who can undermine its legitimacy.

Samutsevich also said that the two year prison sentence she and her two bandmates received is nothing terribly frightening. In her own words, she told the Guardian:

We are mentally prepared [for jail]…I don’t see anything super-scary in having to serve 1.5 years and work. I don’t think that it’ll become some sort of especially difficult test for us we’ve already lived through the past five months relatively easily, and the evil plan of our authorities to jail us so as to break us and sour us has already failed miserably.

The problem for Putin personally now is that a lot of people no longer see his strong hand and authority, but his fear and uncertainty in the face of the progressive citizens of Russia, who grow more and more numerous with every step.

Samutsevich also wrote to the Guardian that she hopes to continue protests against the government and to shoot for change once her sentence is over. She concluded, “We, along with many citizens of our country, are burning even more with the desire to finally take from Putin his monopoly on power.”

The women’s attorney, Violetta Volkova, announced that she has appealed the recent sentence this week. The Associated Press notes that a decision regarding the appeal should come within the next 10 days.

Pussy Riot’s February performance, while not violent in any manner, has riled up some extremely conservative factions of eastern Europe over the last few months. Three Ukrainian women plan to sue Pussy Riot for psychological distress after they watched a video of the performance. Two other members of the band fled the country this week in an attempt to avoid Russian authorities. A wide range of musicians and activists have stood behind Pussy Riot in recent weeks, including Madonna and Ukrainian feminist group, Femen.

Related Stories:

Pussy Riot Sentenced to Two Years in Prison Colony

2 Pussy Riot Members Flee; “Victims” Sue Band for “Psychological Distress”

New Protests Rage After Pussy Riot Verdict (Video)

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Photo Credit: Denis Bochkarev

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30 comments

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10:47PM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

Thank you!

4:59AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

Thanks

4:25AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

@ Donna
They didn't riot in a church. They sang a song unscheduled. They sing songs in church all the time, don't they? They are called church choirs.

Singing a song hardly constitutes a "riot", or 2 years in prison, because you don't care for the lyrics and dress.

3:18AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

Did the Russian authorities really think that jailing 3 very strong women would break them and silence the whole Pussy Riot collective? All it has done is made them more determined to stand up for what is right and furthermore, gather more support globally than they could ever have dreamed of.

12:43AM PDT on Aug 31, 2012

Thank you for the information.

1:57PM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

Thanks

11:03AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

thanks

8:41AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

"How insecure and afraid do you have to be to feel threatened by THOUGHTS and WORDS?!"
True...

6:13AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

I admire their strength and truly hope more people supports their mission

1:07AM PDT on Aug 30, 2012

I expected a bit of Christian Charity from the Russian Orthodox Church, and was disappointed. I expected nothing from Putin and got exactly that.

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