Russia’s Pussy Riot Trial: A Kangaroo Court Goes on a Witch Hunt

Is the ongoing trial of three Russian feminist punk rockers in Moscow a sign of a new tyrannical streak defining the rule of President Vladimir Putin?

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ANDREY SMIRNOV / AFP / Getty Images

Pussy Riot band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich sit behind bars during a court hearing in Moscow on July 30, 2012

On Feb. 8, a month before Vladimir Putin faced re-election for a third term as Russia’s President, he paid a visit to the St. Daniel Monastery in Moscow, where he received an endorsement from Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. They tiptoed around the issue of the elections at first. Under the constitution, there is a clear divide between church and state, so the Patriarch isn’t really supposed to interfere in politics. But eventually they softened up, and Kirill called Putin’s time in office nothing less than a “godly miracle,” thanking him for saving Russia from the “catastrophe” of the 1990s. Putin responded with a rather remarkable statement: “We must move away from the primitive notion of separation between church and state,” he said. “On the contrary, we must devote ourselves to the totally different idea of cooperation.” And cooperate they did. Before departing, Putin pledged about $120 million for the construction of Orthodox churches, and the message became clear for the millions of Orthodox faithful in Russia: Putin is the greatest President Russia has ever had.

But for many in the opposition movement, that meeting marked a blatant affront to the constitution. It seemed to conflate religious and political authority in a way that harked back to the czarist era, when the church worked in the service of the Emperor, and it did not take long for a group of activists called Pussy Riot to make their reply. On Feb. 21, four of them, along with a group of photographers and cameramen, walked into the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the holiest site in Russian Orthodoxy, pulled colorful balaclavas over their heads and performed a “punk prayer” on the altar that was titled “Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!” The video quickly racked up hundreds of thousands of YouTube views, becoming a symbol of the opposition movement, which had just begun to find its voice in the lead up to the elections.

(MORE: The Flimsy Case Against Pussy Riot)

By that point, Pussy Riot had gained some clout among the opposition for their political performances — or “actions” — against Putin’s 12-year rule. A few weeks earlier, they had danced with electric guitars on Red Square, atop the pedestal where the Czars once held public executions, and they posted a video online of a pudgy Kremlin guard trying to make them climb down from there. They were also planning to storm the Russian parliament and hold a performance on the podium during a plenary session. But they never pulled that one off, because on March 5, the day after Putin won another term in office, two members of Pussy Riot were arrested. A third soon joined them in prison, and instead of charging them with the misdemeanor of trespassing or disturbing the peace, investigators hit them with charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” a felony that carries a sentence of at least two years and a maximum of seven. Their trial, which began this week, has crammed into the space of a single, dingy courtroom all of the political divisions, restrictions and anachronisms that will define which way Russia goes from here.

The signs are pointing nowhere good. “We are seeing a concerted effort to instill fear, to let everyone know that dissent will no longer be tolerated,” says Masha Lipman, a political analyst in Moscow. This effort began right after Putin’s inauguration on May 7, and has used every branch of power as a bludgeon. The parliament, for instance, has passed new laws restricting street protests. Special forces have raided the homes of activists involved in demonstrations. Courts are preparing to hear felony charges against demonstrators later this year. Top officials have started advocating censorship of Internet content. And on July 31, the anticorruption blogger Alexei Navalny, the unofficial leader of the Russian protest movement, was informed that he faces up to 10 years in prison for allegedly embezzling half a million dollars worth of timber in 2009. The charges are so sketchy that prosecutors have dropped them twice before for lack of evidence, only to have investigators reopen the case. This time, the amount of money allegedly embezzled was raised more than 10-fold and the charges made much more severe. “This is not all coming down at once by some coincidence. It is a pattern,” says Lipman.

(MORE: An Interview with Alexei Navalny, Russia’s Blogger in Chief)

But of all the facets in this pattern, the trial against Pussy Riot has been the most draconian. Here were three feminist punk rockers in their 20s, with no prior criminal record, deemed too dangerous to receive bail, locked up for almost half a year, away from their families and young children, and facing long stints in prison for a crime that would earn them no more than a juridical wag of the finger just about anywhere else in the Western world. The cost to Russia’s image has already been enormous, with newspapers across the world printing images of their cherubic faces peering out through metal bars. Comparisons to the witch trials of the Middle Ages have come hard and fast, and given the fact that only about 1% of Russian criminal cases end in acquittal, the young women of Pussy Riot are almost sure to be sent away for at least the two-year minimum sentence.

On the first day of the trial, Prosecutor Alexander Nikiforov seemed keenly aware of the social repercussions of this case. The trial, he said in his opening remarks, “has practically split society into two parts.” That was clear enough from the survey released the following day by the Levada Center, an independent polling agency. It showed that a third of Russians saw the proposed sentence of two to seven years as “adequate,” while 43% said it was excessive.

The prosecution’s case, which comes to 2,800 pages, has focused exclusively on the religious aspects of the case, ignoring the defendants’ obvious political motives. While entering their not-guilty pleas on Monday, the defendants tried to protest this interpretation of their crime. “Our motives had nothing to do with religious hatred,” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova told the court. “It is incredibly cruel to impose such motivations on us … Our actions were political.” Locked inside the bulletproof-glass cage reserved for defendants in the courtroom, Yekaterina Samutsevich, another one of the defendants, said their action was meant to protest the Patriarch’s endorsement of Putin. “The court cannot ignore our ideology,” said the third defendant, Maria Alyokhina.

The presiding judge, Marina Syrova, let the remarks stand, and the following day, the court began to hear the testimony of the victims in the case, which seemed so off-kilter to the hall full of journalists that Syrova was forced to ban laughing in the courtroom. For almost 12 hours on Tuesday, the victims cataloged the spiritual suffering they endured after seeing Pussy Riot’s “desecration” of the cathedral. (Nothing in the church, by the way, was vandalized or damaged during their performance, which lasted about a minute before security guards escorted the activists out.)

(MORE: When a Protest Fizzles: Russia’s Opposition Routed After Putin Election)

On Wednesday, the prosecution called its first two witnesses, neither of whom had actually witnessed the crime. The first one, Oleg Ugrik, an Orthodox believer who said he works in construction, had seen the Pussy Riot video online, and he was so disturbed by the “black energy that swept over” him afterward that he called the police to offer his help. When he reached the investigators working on the case, he says he was invited to testify against Pussy Riot in court, and he eagerly accepted. “These girls lowered themselves into hell of their own volition,” he told the court. “The rot that they have released into society, thanks to the Internet,” has spread to millions of people, he said, accusing the girls of representing a satanic cult that has “declared war against God and the Orthodox Church.” Even while the girls have been in jail, he said, “this tumor has continued to grow.”

The second witness, Eteri Ivanishvili, who works as a bursar in another church in Moscow, had an equally tenuous connection to the crime. She had seen reports of it on television and had witnessed a similar incident in her church, so the prosecution deemed her fit to testify. On Wednesday afternoon, she entered the courtroom with a beehive hairdo and an elaborate parasol, which she hung on the side of the witness stand. “All the TV channels reported it,” she said. “It was horrible, all those baffled faces of the parishioners. I saw everything.” During cross examination, however, she could not name the program on which she had seen Pussy Riot. The judge struck down any question related to politics or, indeed, criminal law, so the defense was left to cross examine her about the rules of etiquette that apply in an Orthodox church. If a cell phone starts playing loud music, for instance, is its owner punished for the disturbance? But the judge struck down this line of questioning as well.

Outside the courthouse, dusk was falling by the time the hearing ended on Wednesday, and the relatives of the accused wandered around among the packs of journalists, listening to the lawyers’ despondent remarks. “This is an inquisition, an exorcism of a trial,” said one of the attorneys, Nikolay Polozov. The father of one of the defendants, Vladimir Zhiyanov, looked on sadly with a briefcase in his hand and an Orthodox cross hanging from his neck. “I don’t know what to make of it,” he told TIME. “I’m confused. I guess Putin is trying to tell us how it’s going to be while he’s in power. He will make the rules up as he sees fit.” Staring down the street at the police cordon set up around the courthouse, he added, “If that’s the case, God help us,” and he gave a joyless smile.

108 comments
lostam7
lostam7 like.author.displayName 1 Like

As an open-minded American spending about 4 years living in russia,

observing and studying russian society and culture, I want to present my

viewpoints.  I hope this provides some insight to anybody intending to

spend anytime over in russia.  And, hopefully avoid any problems that

could arise. 

Don't expect that any american ideals will be of any use in russia - the

people are stubborn to the extreme not to change - and have no concept

of a 'good' society (see 'Stubborn to be Stupid' below). 

 < STUBBORN TO BE STUPID

Russians can and will not listen or learn new ideas - such as to improve

themselves.  They are too proud and stubborn - that they prefer keeping

stupid ways - just because they refuse to change.  ..And yes, I have

heard many a russian say - that they would prefer just being 'stupid'

than changing - QED. 

This stubborn trait seems to be a builtin instinct - like they are born

with it.  I have seen this in ALL russians that I have met in the

country in the 4 years that I have been here - in moscow and in other

cities. 

People will jam up at the front of a bus because they want to be in the

front of the bus - leaving many people jammed on the entry steps (like

5-7 people).  I have had many an argument trying to get peple to move to

the empty middle and back of the bus.

I have even seen on the Train, people rarely slide over to allow a

family to sit down.  They might give up a seat for a child - but they

don't think far ahead enough to just slide over 1 seat and allow both

parents to sit down with the child. 

Peons and Robots - Like an ant nest - you lift up a rock and remove the

queen ant - the ants will run around for a few days - defending and

running their now useless nest - because they do not know better on how

to fix it.  Russian people do not seem to have any understanding of

what-makes or how-to-build a society - they just stubbornly follow the

broken system - and insist that what they have will always work. 

 * DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.

Russians have no concept of this idea.  Russians follow a minimal set of

rules in society - it seems because of a fear of getting in trouble. 

 * IDEAS OF GOOD AND BAD.

I have seen none of this in any people older than in the 20's.  I have

seen some people in the young generation, that have only a naive concept

of this.  They sometimes try to be nice, but they can not extend it

beyond the immediate situation. 

Level of Society in Russia (Moscow supposedly they call the center and

best of their country) is no better than American Elementary School

Level.

TABLE COMPARISON OF MY FINDINGS :

Societal Ethic : | Russian Society : | American Elementary School : | American High School : | Normal American Society : |

Stand up for Others to Improve Society | NO | NO | NO | YES |

Feeling of how Actions Affect Other People | NO | NO | NO | YES |

Build/Improve Society for total Good | NO | NO | YES | YES |

Common Politenesses | NO (only as Rules -see below) | NO | YES | YES |

Learn/Copy Self Improvement from Others | NO | YES | YES | YES |

Follow Rules from Penalty of Punishment | YES | YES | YES | YES |

So from comparing these commonly known traits of Societal Ethics, I can

only conclude that the Russians only rate at about an Elementary School

Societal Level in America.  This comes from spending about 4 years in

russia: working, shopping, living in appartments of a few neighborhoods

around moscow, becoming/being part of the society, raising a young child

there.  This includes that I actively worked in a few supposedly

professional job environments. 

Keep note, that in my 4 years, probably having discussions and/or

atleast relating to maybe 50 people on workdays on the trains(metros),

shopping, busses,etc - (do the math) probably related to about 52000

people.  I saw no EXCEPTIONS to these Behaviors.  NO russians showed any

sense of Higher Sociological Behavior than an American Elementary School

Level !

The perspective (always) that I get is that the people do not respect

others.  For example, people will usually wait in a line in Moscow, but

only 50/50 in most other lesser cities - be prepared often to be in a

mob of people shoving and fighting to get into a building or buy

something at outside markets.  While people pushing into lines are

ignored - and Nobody stands up for others.  It seems that people only

wait in lines to follow rules - it is not for Politeness - everybody

still pushes and shoves at the same time while waiting in line. 

Of course, entering ALL trains in russia (including Moscow) is ALWAYS a

mob of people shoving to get on.  I even saw a baby get shoved and

dropped between the Train and Platform because of this - And No 'Sorry'

or Help from ANYBODY for this baby - even in this worst case scenario

that had happened. 

Also they can not learn to improve (on all levels).  People will not

correct a negative facet of their personality, or in any way acknowledge

it to anybody - including themselves.  The closest is an Animalistic way

of blindly following example out of view - no discussion or sharing

ideas - nor thinking about it - only like a baby copying somebody else's

actions. 

The society has no capability of development (like in schools) and no

ingenuity in developing technology.  The Moscow Silicon Valley Skolkovo

was an obvious attempt to engulf technology and development from the

rest of the world.  But still seems to be a failure anyway.

And, nobody seems capable of discussing new ideas.  Everybody is to

worried that it would affect their own ideas - and this would infringe

on their stuborness.  See below for viewpoint of russian discussions. 

 < A GENIUS IN ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IS CONSIDERED A GENIUS - IN RUSSIA

A GENIUS/INVENTOR IS CONSIDERED ONLY CRAZY - the standard and normal

russian saying and viewpoint.

This is the normal and standard perspective of most people and

population to inventors in russia. 

In having discussions with Russian People (even in America - try it

yourself), they only take things literally - they can not visualize or

imagine a 'theoretical' viewpoint - it is too hard or they don't want

to.  Most russian people are very stubborn - even to the point of

discussions - they refuse to imagine other peoples' ideas (under fear

that it would conflict with their own idea).  This would very well

explain the lack in all of innovation and invention and advancement in

russia. 

I had many an argument or indifference or refusing to see (even at

professional work), when I tried to have a 'What If ..' discussion.  I

was not even discusing politics or anything personnal - just a new idea.

 

As I said, the russian people only seem to talk in the literal - as if

everything is fact/fiction or real/not or right/wrong or mine/yours. 

There seemed to be no discussion capability or concept in the people to

discuss possibilities - or imagine - it seemed to not be part of the

language or capability of even thinking about it in russia.  Russians

just wanted to hear a fact or yes/no or statement or action ... etc. 

Theoretical seems to not be in their capability. 

* TECHNOLOGY.

Tecnology is al mass imported - like an attempt at catching up with the

world  by buying the latest TVs and DVD Players and New Cars !

Mcds is considered prize restaurant there - BLECH !

Society in rus rates at about american 20's with  the mobsters.

* STANDING UP WITH FELLOW WORKER(S)

This has absolutely no concept in russia.  Russian workers (as

everybody) only protect themselves.  Fellow workers will spy on you (and

everybody else) - and report ALL info back to management.  This is the

standard everywhere in russia.  Nobody cares about anybody else's

problems - all complaints just go up to management as negatives to the

one who stated the complaints. 

Management will even offer bonusses (or cut pay then offer makeup) -

ONLY if you agree to spy on others. 

I faced this problem time and time again while working - and heard of it

everywhere else.  I even had the problem of a few different people

(outside our group) were directly hindering the progress of the workers

in my group.  we complained many times to management - but the problem

was never faced - and probably ended up harming our work environment

instead. 

The overall work system is based upon the idea - of undermining ANY

unity between the workers.  The peon system is still quite the standard

in russia even today. 

* HELPING FELLOW MAN.

Russian people will Not help others - including their own people.  I

have seen this a number of times.  50 or more people just casually

glancing at a bleeding person (who was mugged) on the ground.  Nobody

helped him.  Nobody wanted to.  Or a baby falling between a train and

the platform - no Help or even aknowledgment from anybody. 

I NEVER saw any russian help another russian (or any person) on the

ground or hurt or bleeding or help old lady, etc - in my 4 years in the

society.  Only I myself did this. 

Many a time that I helped an old lady - or told people standing at the

front of the bus - so that others did not have to stand on the bus

stairs or next to the windshield (commonly 6 people often had to do

this).  The society gave me a feeling that I was odd or wrong or should

not do these things.  Of course, the old later was always intensely

surpised or happy that somebody helped her on the bus or across the

street.  But in the end, I also had to keep quiet about such things,

trying not to be obtrusive in the society - which hindered me. 

Also, russians are quick to argue (and fight) - so be ready for somebody

to punch you in the face if you disagree with them.  There is no heavy

criminal justice in russia - only a light fine.  Don't expect the

authorities (or people) to be of any help either. 

Best comparison that I can say is 'Lord Of the Flies'.

lostam7
lostam7

As an open-minded American spending about 4 years observing and studying

russian society and culture, I want to present my viewpoints.  I hope

this provides some insight to anybody intending to spend anytime over in

russia.  And, hopefully avoid any problems that could arise. 

Don't expect that any american ideals will be of any use in russia - the

people are stubborn to the extreme not to change - and have no concept

of a 'good' society (see 'Stubborn to be Stupid' below). 

 < STUBBORN TO BE STUPID

Russians can and will not listen or learn new ideas - such as to improve

themselves.  They are too proud and stubborn - that they prefer keeping

stupid ways - just because they refuse to change.  ..And yes, I have

heard many a russian say - that they would prefer just being 'stupid'

than changing - QED. 

This stubborn trait seems to be a builtin instinct - like they are born

with it.  I have seen this in ALL russians that I have met in the

country in the 4 years that I have been here - in moscow and in other

cities. 

People will jam up at the front of a bus because they want to be in the

front of the bus - leaving many people jammed on the entry steps (like

5-7 people).  I have had many an argument trying to get peple to move to

the empty middle and back of the bus.

I have even seen on the Train, people rarely slide over to allow a

family to sit down.  They might give up a seat for a child - but they

don't think far ahead enough to just slide over 1 seat and allow both

parents to sit down with the child. 

Peons and Robots - Like an ant nest - you lift up a rock and remove the

queen ant - the ants will run around for a few days - defending and

running their now useless nest - because they do not know better on how

to fix it.  Russian people do not seem to have any understanding of

what-makes or how-to-build a society - they just stubbornly follow the

broken system - and insist that what they have will always work. 

 * DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO TO YOU.

Russians have no concept of this idea.  Russians follow a minimal set of

rules in society - it seems because of a fear of getting in trouble. 

 * IDEAS OF GOOD AND BAD.

I have seen none of this in any people older than in the 20's.  I have

seen some people in the young generation, that have only a naive concept

of this.  They sometimes try to be nice, but they can not extend it

beyond the immediate situation. 

Level of Society in Russia (Moscow supposedly they call the center and

best of their country) is no better than American Elementary School

Level.

TABLE COMPARISON OF MY FINDINGS :

Societal Ethic : | Russian Society : | American Elementary School : | American High School : | Normal American Society : |

Stand up for Others to Improve Society | NO | NO | NO | YES |

Feeling of how Actions Affect Other People | NO | NO | NO | YES |

Build/Improve Society for total Good | NO | NO | YES | YES |

Common Politenesses | NO (only as Rules -see below) | NO | YES | YES |

Learn/Copy Self Improvement from Others | NO | YES | YES | YES |

Follow Rules from Penalty of Punishment | YES | YES | YES | YES |

So from comparing these commonly known traits of Societal Ethics, I can

only conclude that the Russians only rate at about an Elementary School

Societal Level in America.  This comes from spending about 4 years in

russia: working, shopping, living in appartments of a few neighborhoods

around moscow, becoming/being part of the society, raising a young child

there.  This includes that I actively worked in a few supposedly

professional job environments. 

Keep note, that in my 4 years, probably having discussions and/or

atleast relating to maybe 50 people on workdays on the trains(metros),

shopping, busses,etc - (do the math) probably related to about 52000

people.  I saw no EXCEPTIONS to these Behaviors.  NO russians showed any

sense of Higher Sociological Behavior than an American Elementary School

Level !

The perspective (always) that I get is that the people do not respect

others.  For example, people will usually wait in a line in Moscow, but

only 50/50 in most other lesser cities - be prepared often to be in a

mob of people shoving and fighting to get into a building or buy

something at outside markets.  While people pushing into lines are

ignored - and Nobody stands up for others.  It seems that people only

wait in lines to follow rules - it is not for Politeness - everybody

still pushes and shoves at the same time while waiting in line. 

Of course, entering ALL trains in russia (including Moscow) is ALWAYS a

mob of people shoving to get on.  I even saw a baby get shoved and

dropped between the Train and Platform because of this - And No 'Sorry'

or Help from ANYBODY for this baby - even in this worst case scenario

that had happened. 

Also they can not learn to improve (on all levels).  People will not

correct a negative facet of their personality, or in any way acknowledge

it to anybody - including themselves.  The closest is an Animalistic way

of blindly following example out of view - no discussion or sharing

ideas - nor thinking about it - only like a baby copying somebody else's

actions. 

The society has no capability of development (like in schools) and no

ingenuity in developing technology.  The Moscow Silicon Valley Skolkovo

was an obvious attempt to engulf technology and development from the

rest of the world.  But still seems to be a failure anyway.

And, nobody seems capable of discussing new ideas.  Everybody is to

worried that it would affect their own ideas - and this would infringe

on their stuborness.  See below for viewpoint of russian discussions. 

 < A GENIUS IN ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IS CONSIDERED A GENIUS - IN RUSSIA

A GENIUS/INVENTOR IS CONSIDERED ONLY CRAZY - the standard and normal

russian saying and viewpoint.

This is the normal and standard perspective of most people and

population to inventors in russia. 

In having discussions with Russian People (even in America - try it

yourself), they only take things literally - they can not visualize or

imagine a 'theoretical' viewpoint - it is too hard or they don't want

to.  Most russian people are very stubborn - even to the point of

discussions - they refuse to imagine other peoples' ideas (under fear

that it would conflict with their own idea).  This would very well

explain the lack in all of innovation and invention and advancement in

russia. 

I had many an argument or indifference or refusing to see (even at

professional work), when I tried to have a 'What If ..' discussion.  I

was not even discusing politics or anything personnal - just a new idea.

 

As I said, the russian people only seem to talk in the literal - as if

everything is fact/fiction or real/not or right/wrong or mine/yours. 

There seemed to be no discussion capability or concept in the people to

discuss possibilities - or imagine - it seemed to not be part of the

language or capability of even thinking about it in russia.  Russians

just wanted to hear a fact or yes/no or statement or action ... etc. 

Theoretical seems to not be in their capability. 

* TECHNOLOGY.

Tecnology is al mass imported - like an attempt at catching up with the world  by buying the latest TVs and DVD Players and New Cars !

Mcds is considered prize restaurant there - BLECH !

Society in rus rates at about american 20's with  the mobsters.

* STANDING UP WITH FELLOW WORKER(S)

This has absolutely no concept in russia.  Russian workers (as

everybody) only protect themselves.  Fellow workers will spy on you (and

everybody else) - and report ALL info back to management.  This is the

standard everywhere in russia.  Nobody cares about anybody else's

problems - all complaints just go up to management as negatives to the

one who stated the complaints. 

Management will even offer bonusses (or cut pay then offer makeup) -

ONLY if you agree to spy on others. 

I faced this problem time and time again while working - and heard of it

everywhere else.  I even had the problem of a few different people

(outside our group) were directly hindering the progress of the workers

in my group.  we complained many times to management - but the problem

was never faced - and probably ended up harming our work environment

instead. 

The overall work system is based upon the idea - of undermining ANY

unity between the workers.  The peon system is still quite the standard

in russia even today. 

* HELPING FELLOW MAN.

Russian people will Not help others - including their own people.  I

have seen this a number of times.  50 or more people just casually

glancing at a bleeding person (who was mugged) on the ground.  Nobody

helped him.  Nobody wanted to.  Or a baby falling between a train and

the platform - no Help or even aknowledgment from anybody. 

I NEVER saw any russian help another russian (or any person) on the

ground or hurt or bleeding or help old lady, etc - in my 4 years in the

society.  Only I myself did this. 

Many a time that I helped an old lady - or told people standing at the

front of the bus - so that others did not have to stand on the bus

stairs or next to the windshield (commonly 6 people often had to do

this).  The society gave me a feeling that I was odd or wrong or should

not do these things.  Of course, the old later was always intensely

surpised or happy that somebody helped her on the bus or across the

street.  But in the end, I also had to keep quiet about such things,

trying not to be obtrusive in the society - which hindered me. 

Also, russians are quick to argue (and fight) - so be ready for somebody

to punch you in the face if you disagree with them.  There is no heavy

criminal justice in russia - only a light fine.  Don't expect the

authorities (or people) to be of any help either. 

Best comparison that I can say is 'Lord Of the Flies'.

палиграф шариковъ
палиграф шариковъ

neither Putin nor the Church have anything to do with this, so leave them out of it all, for the 'punks' are being persecuted by the State and no one else!

Mircea Andronescu
Mircea Andronescu

One of the problem with what Pussy Riot did is that they didn't pay the church for their performance. It happens quite often that semi-vip's or local singers perform with Jesus on the cross as their stage backdrop. But they pay the church good money. Not to mention they don't sing anti-Putin songs. But hey! This is Russia and equality is only for the rich.

avik
avik

Is there a single commie state where there is justice and rights for its people?  Don't think so!

Yanni Sorolov
Yanni Sorolov

Why do you keep broadcasting the same story over and over again?

The USA is a police state and Russia has much more freedom than America.

What about those bands in Boston who were banned from playing.

 Inciting a riot and breaking into a church is also illegal in the USA!  Those Punk hooligans need to be put in jail where they belong.  Seven years is too

short. 

Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau

Putin and Co have been suppressing the rights of Russians for decades. The mainstream American media doesn't notice until pop musicians are involved. Pathetic, as usual.

valmach
valmach

Put-in... never take out

valmach
valmach

Ah the trapping's stupidity, fascism  and religion...let the inquisitions begin... 

dearcat
dearcat

Shades of Stalin.  Gorbachov was a decent man.   It was and is obvious what Putin is.  He will put Russia "under the yoke" again.

misha_trotsky
misha_trotsky

 "Gorbachov was a decent man."  Of course. Gorbachev is a liberal, just like Yeltsin was. Gorbachev ended the Cold War, not Ronnie Raygun.

dearcat
dearcat

You are right. Regan was a nothing, worse than that, he was an incompetent. I forgot about Yeltsin. I have two friends who are Russian. I feel so sad for the Russian people.

dearcat
dearcat

You are right. Regan was a nothing, worse than that, he was an incompetent. I forgot about Yeltsin. I have two friends who are Russian. I feel so sad for the Russian people.

Xira
Xira

What they are doing is really not much different than what happens in Amerika.

Over here, all the courts are kangaroo courts. They achieve this by stacking the jury with people most likely to agree with the government's reasoning and by passing over 1 million laws and statues, such that everything is illegal, and everyone can be charged with something.

Over there, they are a bit more blatant about ordering prosecutions, but still, if you stay under the radar, you actually have more day-to-day freedom than you do here in Amerika.

-Gibson Guitar

misha_trotsky
misha_trotsky

"What they are doing is really not much different than what happens in Amerika."Turzai: Voter ID Law Means Romney Can Win PA - "Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” http://www.politicspa.com/turz...

Johnny Sparks
Johnny Sparks

My take on Putin is,,,,he is bigger than this bullshit,,, The Church seems to want more state power.....This is exactly why the separation clause is written...the  Church,,,wants an example to be made,,,Not mercy and forgiveness,, an example...       That's how the Catholics Roll.,,,Torture,,,,punishment,,and death,,,,submit or suffer.     kinda like what happened to Jesus,,  

Domush
Domush

It appears Russia is headed back into the toilet. To think the people agree with this prison sentence is mind boggling. Yet another example of how religion brings misery to this planet. I feel for the people trapped in that country who are rational, sane people who simply wish to live by the fruits of their labors in peace.

the US and Russia are following the same backwards path back into religious rule and the death and slavery it once presided over every other time the church was in power.

Ghangstalked Poisonradiationto
Ghangstalked Poisonradiationto

"Comparisons to the witch trials of the Middle Ages have come hard and fast"How about in the USA where "gang stalking" groups are allowed by the government to openly stalk, harass, POISON  and IRRADIATE  whomever they deem to be not up to their "standards"?

What would you compare that to?

And no media group would dare point these crimes out because of their intense fear.

So maybe a government that is a little more involved in protecting its citizens might be a good thing? 

Pussy Riot , of course , should be acquitted. 

Archy Bunka
Archy Bunka

Boycott Russia, don't buy their vodka and fuel, such as  Lukoil.

wsxyz
wsxyz

I wonder why Time didn't bother mention the Pussy Riot chicken protest, in which the "band members" publicly inserted stolen supermarket chicken pieces into their bodily cavities? Or why not mention their public orgy in a Moscow museum?

Surely Time doesn't want us to be ignorant of the courageous protest actions taken by these fine, upstanding girls?

Robert2011GB
Robert2011GB

So if the Occupy movement occupied the National Carthedral in Washington and made a video ridiculing the devout faith of millions of religious Americans and the police arrested them and held them without bail, you would be equally condemnatory of the  American police and judicial system?

You would be equally fervent in supporting the Occupy demonstrators?

Xira
Xira

As a general rule, 20% of people will agree with any government action(or other authority with any power over them).

Some people are born suck-ups.

The sad thing is that with modern policing and weaponry, 20% is enough, so it just goes on and on...

Michele Fouchey
Michele Fouchey

"I looked

the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy….I

was able to get a sense of his soul." —George W. Bush, after meeting Russian

President Vladimir Putin, June 16, 2001

the neocon tea nut right wing and Putin ..... two peas in a pod.

roundtable2012
roundtable2012

It's amazing to me the people who don't 'get' politics. What did you want Bush to publicly say...Putin is a snake? That would be very bad for public relations. All politicians do this when another leader or country has things we need or better yet need to keep an eye on. It's called keeping your enemies close. And politically they are nothing alike.

BobGuy
BobGuy

"At the end of their first summit meeting in Slovenia Mr Bush described Mr Putin as a straightforward and trustworthy man.

The Russian leader said he regarded the US as a partner."

They both lied when they said that.

 And when GW said he got a sense of his soul, he may have simply been waxing eloquent, acknowledging an understanding of the vile nature of the beast in diplomatic jargon.

 

MarkDonners
MarkDonners

Putin is egotistic and arrogant but at least Putin doesn't send drones to murder children in several countries like Osama Obama, and then double his terror drones after the news breaks that more children were killed. At least Putin keeps his word about protecting the environment. He doesn't attack the environment while sucking up to polluting corporations after promising he cares for the environment, like the con artist Osama Obama.  And don't try to claim the US is a "democracy", Obama wasn't elected he was appointed from two equally corrupt parties as the next US tyrant just like Bush.

Jacques Cousteau
Jacques Cousteau

Dissent will not be tolerated. Russia has posted laws regarding street protests. Minor trespassers are locked up for major felonies, and have trials out of public sight, with no media. Hmmm...sounds like the US of A to me. They're learning our tricks.

Xira
Xira

It's amazing that people here in Amerika actually still think we are a free country.

Unless you are a cop or a cop's kid or wife(or you have a billion dollars) you are not even remotely free.

C F
C F

TAKE NOTE: These girls had full sex in a museum in front of the public including childern - see the video!  They put an oven ready chicken inside their knickers to steal it from a supermarket - see the video They desecrated a church - see the video - videos are all on Youtube.

What would happen to them in UK, France or USA?  Please tell me.  Then re-write your anti-Putin propaganda in a balanced format! 

Also they have no talent as singers but then thats just my opinion

Skroob
Skroob

C F is actually detailing his/her/its last weekend (see video).

dauqhx
dauqhx

The US dislikes Putin because they are afraid of a strong Russia and because they still carry the (very fascist) dislike of slavic people and culture. There is nothing that would please westerners more than a poor and weak Russia with a collapsing army and preferably with some strong terrorist and separatist movements to deal with for good measure.

The charge for these women seems just, they were motivated by hatred of "patriarchal" Christianity and religion in general and what they did can qualify as vandalism. Let the system do it's job.

Freedom of religion is a fundamental universal human right and thus any state signatory to the UN charter has an obligation of protecting religious groups from harassment and hate.

While the US takes a very hands off aproach to freedom of speech, many other countries, including a lot of European Union ones have a low tolerance of hate crimes, and disrupting religious service and attacking religious shrines will get you in jail in a lot of "democratic" places besides Russia.

Not to mention that Russia is a country where people have been persecuted for their religious beliefs for most of last century by people with very similar doctrine to these Pussies.

Their brainwashed babble looks a lot different if you've experienced communism first hand.

Danny Kleemann
Danny Kleemann

Unfortunate.  I'm extremely disappointed in the Russian Patriarch for endorsing this madman (as well as the ones with real religious hatred taking this as an opportunity to take potshots at religion, which is low considering there are real people suffering). Putin is a nationalistic, autocratic thug seeking to do whatever it takes to gain power. He did it in the name of Communism when he was in the KGB, he did it in the name of Russia in the 90's and people were desperate, and he's doing it now with religion and anti-discriminatory laws.

Face it. Putin wants power pure and simple and will silence any dissent. It makes no difference. If they did it in the Red Square or anywhere else, there would still be trumped up charges. And soon, the time will cease when he will not NEED excuses if this continues.

Chris Meyering
Chris Meyering

These are dangerous times indeed. The Internet Genie has been let out of the bottle and the opposition will never disappear. This will embolden them even more, not silent them. Lets just hope Putin backs off when Russia reaches its tipping point. With his public support of Assad, this seems unlikely.

Natural Law
Natural Law

Obama is killing more people with drones and on going wars and proxy wars (libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Syria) then Bush or Putin. I might be a Liberal but I am also a realist and these are simply facts

Chris Meyering
Chris Meyering

You are a Conservative passing yourself off as a Liberal in an attempt to make those you dislike like look incompetent. The problem is that the example you used is quite absurd. As Pres. Obama inherited these problems as will any future President regardless of Political affiliation. That is the reality, but thanks for the laugh calling yourself a "Realist"

Bill Collins
Bill Collins

Putin does not permit the ' freedom of speech and expression ' no matter if offensive !

he is a REAL dictator elected  illegally in russia !

lawupholder55
lawupholder55

Break the law, you get punished.....Oh i'm sorry, i forgot.....the west gave that idea up ages ago.

And don't forget.....we still have blasphemy and public order laws in England. the difference is the Russians uphold their laws. as for uneducated, check how many young people in Russia have passed their degrees in colleges and university compared to the chavs roaming the streets of England.

As for being held without trial for one year, two words......Guantanamo bay