Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot Sentenced to Two Years


From Left: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Aliokhina

As the three women stood before a judge who was about to bestow their punishment, a spectator in the courtroom yelled “shame” in anger towards their direction. After months of one sided deliberation with prosecutors accusing the trio of “devilish dances” in a church, Judge Marina Syrova read her verdict to the defendants. The women had “committed hooliganism driven by religious hatred” began her verdict, adding that “the girls' act was sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules.”

Although this may sound like testimony taken straight out of the Salem Witch Trials, the “devilish dancers” in this case are none other than the Russian punk rock trio Pussy Riot, who as many of you now know were arrested last March for performing a public protest slash performance against President Vladimir Putin inside Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.

The crime in question carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, although prosecutors were aiming towards three years for the women. Earlier today, they each received two years in prison.

The band claimed that they were protesting against Putin’s strong ties with the Russian Orthodox Church when they stormed inside Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral wearing bright ski masks and shorts skirts before beginning their “punk prayer” directed at the president.

“Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich and Alyokhina committed an act of hooliganism, a gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society,” said the judge before handing the women their sentence.

Although the band has received numerous showings of support from various famous and non famous people around the world – such as Sir Paul McCartney who yesterday went to Twitter yesterday with a direct massage of hope for the women – polls show that the majority of Russians do not sympathize with Pussy Riot’s plight.

The opinion poll of Russians led by the independent research group Levada released on Friday showed that only a mere six percent had sympathy with the woman while 51 percent answered they felt hostile and irritated towards the act, or had nothing good to say about it at all.

“As in most politically motivated cases, this court is not in line with the law, common sense or mercy,” said human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva, a rare Russian citizen siding against the court’s ruling.

Most in Russia felt closer along the lines with Valentina Ivanova, a retired doctor who was outside the courtroom as the verdict was delivered.

“What they did showed disrespect towards everything, and towards believers first of all,” said Ivanova. “Let them get three years in jail; they need to wise up.”

Even the man of the hour himself, President Putin chimed in on the matter, saying that although the woman did “nothing good,” they should not be judged too harshly – a surprising sentiment to his critics who commonly paint the president as a man who does take lightly acts against himself or his government.

Count your blessings Westerners .

 

PC: Maxim Shipenkov

Leave a Reply