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Pussy Riot: Political Prisoners of Conscience

by August 1, 2012
filed under Activism, Entertainment
Topics ,

Pussy Riot, a Russian, feminist, punk-rock group caused political turmoil and religious uproar after the declaration of Vladimir Putin’s win in the Russian state elections. The 10 performer-collective and 15 technical staff committed the ultimate sin in Russian society by Orthodox Conservatives. The group is seen as heretics and criminals by the church and government first gained notoriety by their unauthorized performance located on the roof of a detention centre where protest leaders and bloggers were held.

But the group’s most infamous performance was in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church, in Moscow on February 21, 2012. Pussy Riot wasted no time in a demonstration that lasted less than 5 minutes, before church officials put it to a halt. They performed a song called “Holy Shit,” in which they prayed to the “Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin,” to “chase Putin out.”

It wasn’t until March 3rd that two alleged members of Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were taken into custody by Russian authorities and accused with hooliganism, for which they could serve up to 7 years in prison for. Yes, apparently hooliganism is a serious thing. Both women deny accusations of involvement in the group and have responded with a hunger strike in protest for being incarcerated and away from their children and family.

A third woman by the name of Ekaterina Samutsevitch, who was previously questioned as a witness was taken into police custody and also charged with hooliganism on March 16.

Rights groups such as the Union of Solidarity and Political Prisoners stated that all three women are political prisoners, along with Amnesty International who’s named them as Prisoners of Conscience. Such organizations have called for the “immediate release,” of the prisoners.

Opinions in Russian society have differed. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill I of Moscow stated that Pussy Riots performance at Christ the Saviour Cathedral was “blasphemous,” and that the “devil has laughed at all of us.” He also went on to voice that “we have no future if we allow mocking in front of great shrines, and if some see such mocking as some sort of valour, as an expression of political protest, as an acceptable action or a harmless joke.”

However, a few thousand people regardless of religion have signed a petition to the Patriarch Kirill pleading for him to stand up for the imprisoned gurls.

More than a hundred Russian arts figures have called for their release as well.

Recently a Russian court has ruled that the incarcerated shall remain detained until July 24. Outside the court building many protested the court’s decision as police detained approximately 20 people. Many chanted anti-Kremlin slogans and also clashed with Russian Orthodox Church supporters who called for the gurls “to repent.”

Before the initial arrests of the three alleged members of Pussy Riot, members of the group called Putin’s reaction to their church protest as “childish.” They further on went to say, “we knew what the political situation was but now we’re personally feeling the full force of Putin’s Kafkaesque machine. The state’s policy is based on a minimum of critical thinking and on a maximum of spite, and a desire to get even with those who don’t please it.”


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