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Pussy Riot and Russia.:

 1 Deviant Braeburn, Sat, 18th Aug '12 2:49:11 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
...Am I even allowed to have "Pussy" in my title?tongue

Anyway for those not aware, Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk-rock musical collective in Moscow, who stage politically provocative impromptu performances about Russian political life in unusual locations.

On March 3, 2012, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, two alleged members of Pussy Riot, were arrested by the Russian authorities and accused of hooliganism. Both women at first denied being members of the group and started a hunger strike in protest against being held in jail away from their young children until their case came to trial in April. On March 16 another woman, Yekaterina Samutsevitch, who had earlier been questioned as a witness in the case, was similarly arrested and charged.

This is not the first time the band has been in hot water, on 21 February 2012, as part of a protest movement against the re-election of Vladimir Putin, four women from the group went to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, masking their identities, crossing themselves, bowing to the altar and beginning to perform the song "Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away". After less than a minute they were escorted outside the building by guards. In the song, the group asked the "Theotokos" (Virgin Mary) to "become a feminist" and "put Putin away". The song criticizes the repression of dissent in Russia and the church's support for Vladimir Putin. The Russian Patriarch, Kirill I of Moscow, is described as someone who believes in Putin rather than God. Kirill had openly supported Putin's candidacy before the presidential election. The song also contains the lyrics: "Shit, shit, the Lord's shit!

The three were convicted on August 17, 2012 and all sentenced to two years imprisonment.In the verdict it is said that the defendants "suffered from mixed personality disorder displayed by their active position in life". The judge stated that they had "crudely undermined the social order" with their protest, showing a "complete lack of respect" for believers. Tolokonnikova later replied that "Our imprisonment serves as a clear and unambiguous sign that freedom is being taken away from the entire country.

On the day they were sentenced, Pussy Riot also released a brand new song called "Putin Lights Up the Fire". The Guardian has edited the new song to a montage of Pussy Riot members and their supporters

(Note the lyrics are in Russian, and I can't find an English Translation. If someone can find one, could you please post it).

Supporters and critics of the band both demonstrated at their sentencing hearing. Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, who was protesting in support of the band, was detained by police, while former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, trying to attend the reading of the verdict, was arrested and beaten.

Various musicians from all over the world, including Madonna, Paul McCartney, Sting, and The Black Keys have all come out to protest the arrest in various ways.

Amnesty International called the conviction "a bitter blow for freedom of expression". Hugh Williamson, of Human Rights Watch, stated that the "charges and verdict... distort both the facts and the law... These women should never have been charged with a hate crime and should be released immediately." Lyudmila Alexeyeva stated that the judgement was politically motivated and that the Russian court was "not in line with the law, common sense or mercy."Boris Akunin has said "Putin has doomed himself to another year and a half of international shame and humiliation. The whole thing is bad because it's yet another step toward the escalation of tensions within society. And the government is absolutely to blame."

Barack Obama expressed disappointment, and the White House stated "we have serious concerns about the way that these young women have been treated by the Russian judicial system." German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the sentence was "excessively harsh" and "not compatible with the European values of the rule of law and democracy to which Russia, as a member of the Council of Europe, has committed itself." British Foreign Minister Alistair Burt said in a statement that the verdict "calls into question Russia's commitment to protect fundamental rights and freedoms." Catherine Ashton, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said the two-year sentences give to the women were "disproportionate" to the crime and added to the intimidation of opposition activists in Russia. And Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev told the BBC he believed the band had done nothing illegal and thus there was no cause for a lawsuit. "I am certain that there is no reason for legal action, " Gorbachev said.

On the other hand, people have come out in support of the arrests. In Serbia, the right-wing activist group Nasi released a video game online focusing on the members of Pussy Riot and supporting the women's imprisonment. Irina Yarovaya, a member of the General Council of Putin's United Russia party, defended the conviction, stating "they deserved it." Putin himself has been quite about the case.

Amnesty International have declared August 17 "Pussy Riot Global Day" by activists. People gathered in New York City where Chloe Sevigny read writings and court statements by the convicted members of the band. In Kiev, Inna Shevchenko, a topless feminist activist from the group FEMEN, used a chainsaw to destroy a wooden sculpture of Christ on the cross, which was erected on a hill overlooking the city center. Some sources claimed that it was the cross erected to commemorate victims of Stalinist repression and the famine of the 1930s, however that the cross is made of stone not wood, and the wooden cross which was destroyed is likely to have been the cross dedicated to the events of the Orange Revolution of 20042005. In Bulgaria people put masks, similar to those worn by Pussy Riot, on a Soviet sculpture. Approximately 100 people protested outside the Russian consulate in Toronto. In Barcelona, Spain, more than 50 colorfully garbed demonstrators sang and danced to Pussy Riot songs as they protested outside the large Sagrada Familia church.

On a side note, this is the first Conversation I've created on this site, so please don't be afraid to correct me if I do anything wrong.smile

So, what's your opinion on the matter?

edited 18th Aug '12 3:24:04 PM by DeviantBraeburn

Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

 2 Cassie, Sat, 18th Aug '12 4:41:14 PM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
My opinion on the matter is that it does not surprise me. Some authority would rather use violence over silence. This is one such, and who can say who deserves what treatment.

All I can say is this though: above all rights of speech, please do research on your authorities first. Words are power, but the wrong words spoken may court you with catastrophe. There's a time and place for everything, and therefore there's a time and place for any speech.

I mean, seriously, going to a church and bitch about it proves that PR is none the wiser
What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
It turns out the reforms of the 1990s simply removed the good aspects of communism (the stuff analogous to social welfare) while keeping the same bastards in power.

What a shock :V

And Cassie, I'm pretty sure Pussy Riot were expecting to be oppressed like this. I, for one, am glad that there are people willing to stand up to authority even when it has such a personal cost.

edited 18th Aug '12 4:46:20 PM by imadinosaur

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
 4 Grimview, Sat, 18th Aug '12 6:49:35 PM from British Columbia
Catalytic
The closing statements of the band make it quite clear that they fully expected this result. They see it as a true sign of what Putin and his regime represent, to the world and to the Russian people, and they have said that the trial itself was a show not of justice for them, but a trial of just how far Putin was willing to go.

Anyway.

Personally, I think the fact they're being prosecuted for this in the first place is utterly absurd, and their prison sentence is ridiculous in every way. But the Western leaders are only even bothering to offer lip service to this because it's getting attention; were it not getting mainstream media attention, we wouldn't hear a damn word from them, even if it were all over the rest of the internet.

Words of condemnation won't do a thing to free these women, but actions might. And those actions aren't going to be taken by the West's governments any time soon, I think.
"Lock up your girlfriends, lock up your wives, Grim's on the loose so run for your lives." - Pyrite
I'm actually pleased about this and I don't really get the protests to the arrest. Is the two-year imprisonment considered too harsh a punishment for this?

I'm surprised more people aren't criticising their actions, actually.

 6 0dd 1, Sat, 18th Aug '12 7:26:43 PM from Nowhere Land
Just awesome like that
[up]Lemme put it this way: If you stood in front of your local church protesting something, would you expect to even be arrested for it?
Insert witty and clever quip here.

My page, as the database hates my handle.

My music.
 7 Ace of Spades, Sat, 18th Aug '12 7:36:01 PM from The Wild Blue Yonder Relationship Status: I wanna know about these strangers like me
@Grimview: Given that this took place entirely within Russia, going through legal if questionably means, there's probably not much that other Western powers can do besides talking about it. Sometimes, leaders are just powerless to do anything in other countries. In fact, that's most of the time.

That said, since Russia is on that European Council thing Merkel is in a better position to do something than Obama is.
 8 Grimview, Sat, 18th Aug '12 7:44:30 PM from British Columbia
Catalytic
@Guest: You're pleased that people decrying closer ties between Church and an authoritarian, anti-free speech State in a formerly secular nation are being locked in prison for two years?

That's a gross oversimplification, but that's the gist of what you just said.

To be clear: Not an attack on you. Just boiling down what this result actually means to simpler terms.

edited 18th Aug '12 7:45:34 PM by Grimview

"Lock up your girlfriends, lock up your wives, Grim's on the loose so run for your lives." - Pyrite
Pretending to be human
One thing is for sure though, Russia Today will never report this. Or if they do, it will likely be in a tone sneering at Pussy Riot.

edited 18th Aug '12 8:51:55 PM by Exploder

My Sonic fanfic series.
 10 Cassie, Sat, 18th Aug '12 9:34:47 PM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
Let's not be too one-sided about this: PR's activities proved less of Putin's ruthlessness than in his political records, while proving more of their personal attacks against Putin in general. First, we have to prove that their claim of feminism was worth it to begin with. Slandering via guerilla concerts does not give them any positive credit by logic.
What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
 11 entropy 13, Sat, 18th Aug '12 9:48:31 PM from Somewhere only we know. Relationship Status: Drift compatible
わからない
[up]Which, specifically, is the "slandering"? Considering you just said that their personal attacks on Putin have been "proven", and therefore cannot be "slander", since slander is essentially just baseless insults about a person...
I'm reading this because it's interesting. I think.
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, over.
Proud Canadian
I don't see how you could see this in any other way then silencing an enemy of your power. It sound s a lot like what politcal musicians have witnessed before.

If you don't like a single Frank Ocean song, you have no soul.
 13 Barkey, Sat, 18th Aug '12 10:02:53 PM from Bunker 051
War Profiteer
I don't think this is particularly illustrative of Putin in particular until the members of Pussy Riot come down with radiation poisoning.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
Proud Canadian
I'm sure he'd make sure to mix it up. You can't use the same trick twice, gotta keep things entertaining.
If you don't like a single Frank Ocean song, you have no soul.
 15 Cassie, Sat, 18th Aug '12 10:05:28 PM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
The main slandering here is that PR claimed the church openly supported Putin. Due to this, PR composed a song that deliberately assaulted the 'Lord' for being shit. Their arrest was, under official reports, due to hooliganism. From my take, they're also arrested for religious attack, tied to Putin's name.

If you were in Putin's place, I'll leave it up to your imagination on how you would deal this
What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
Proud Canadian
Trump up the charges.
If you don't like a single Frank Ocean song, you have no soul.
 17 joeyjojo, Sat, 18th Aug '12 10:25:48 PM from South of Norway Relationship Status: Get out of here, STALKER
Oh Kitty
In related news, moscow bans gay pride prade for the next 100 years [1].
 18 Barkey, Sat, 18th Aug '12 10:27:55 PM from Bunker 051
War Profiteer
Two years is highly excessive, I feel. But I would have had them arrested if I were a government official with the power to make that call from a patrol officer responding to the complaint all the way up to Putin himself.

Large fines and maybe a few weeks or possibly months in jail, but not two years.
The AR-15 is responsible for 95% of all deaths each year. The rest of the deaths are from obesity and drone strikes.
 19 Deviant Braeburn, Sat, 18th Aug '12 10:28:10 PM from Dysfunctional California
Wandering Jew
According to the ruling, the earliest that a Pride march, rally or celebration can take place in May 2112, Pink News notes.

Now that's just depressing.
Everything is Possible.

But some things are more Probable than others.
JEBAGEDDON 2016

Is that cake frosting?
Personally, I think the fact they're being prosecuted for this in the first place is utterly absurd, and their prison sentence is ridiculous in every way.
The fact that they held their protest inside of the Cathedral might justify a fine, I think; but yeah, a two years' sentence is as out of line as it gets — and it is evident that the only reason for such a harsh penalty is their opposition to Putin.

But they seem to know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

 21 Cassie, Sun, 19th Aug '12 1:24:25 AM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
Please. There are broader strokes for some authorities' ruling compared to another which are thinner, and vice versa. Look at China, banning Facebook and Youtube. It doesn't inherently make them opposition-paranoiac. Both Russia and China been doing these harsh judgements for a very long time because of the amount of population so it's nothing fresh
What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
 22 0dd 1, Sun, 19th Aug '12 1:47:50 AM from Nowhere Land
Just awesome like that
Both Russia and China been doing these harsh judgements for a very long time because of the amount of population so it's nothing fresh
The same could be said of many other horrific practices as well. That isn't a justification for those practices to continue, though.
Insert witty and clever quip here.

My page, as the database hates my handle.

My music.
The main slandering here is that PR claimed the church openly supported Putin. Due to this, PR composed a song that deliberately assaulted the 'Lord' for being shit.

The lyrics didn't claim that the Lord is shit, they described Putin as the "Lord's shit". Which he is. Therefore, no slander.

edited 19th Aug '12 2:49:10 AM by Ever9

De gustibus non est disputandum
betaalpha
[up][up][up] I don't completely follow your statement but I think you're saying that Russia is repressive and China is even more repressive? If so then yes I agree with you. The former is slowly becoming as repressive and totalitarian as the latter.

Here's some more info about what the girls were protesting about. Includes a lulzworthy bit about 'The Miraculous Watch'.

I imagine you would have probably gotten similar protests in your own country had its Archbishop / Grand Imam / Chief Rabbi called the dude in charge a "Miracle of God."

edited 19th Aug '12 3:35:38 AM by betaalpha

 25 Cassie, Sun, 19th Aug '12 8:10:52 AM from Malaysia, but where?
The armored raven
[up][up]In my satelite TV, Pheonix channel news stated that the bishop openly denied having made statements of pro-Putinism

[up]Please, I urge you not to make such remarks again. A little bit of research of Malaysia could probably be done through international papers. Unless no one gives it any shit.

Gotta say, everyone has a repressive side. It would be a flat out lie if you can't bring yourself to admit America has never dealt with political oppositions in ugly ways before. I did NOT, however, use the amount of population in Russia and China as an excuse / justification, far from it. I was using it to describe a factor that pushes the rulers into dealing out harsh hands. Now, the effects may backfire, but that's just how it is. We can't accept it, but somehow it must be done, because laxing around millions isn't going to help either.

edited 19th Aug '12 8:11:56 AM by Cassie

What profit is it to a man, when he gains his money, but loses his internet? Anonymous 16:26 I believe...
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