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Friday, November 24, 2017

Putin Persecutes Pussy

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Pussy is a riot

I have no idea at all what Vladimir Putin’s tastes are. One thing I do know is that he has a real aversion to Pussy.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s authoritarian president, does not like Pussy. In fact he dislikes Pussy so much that she’s in prison on a charge of hooliganism, held for months on remand and, if convicted, facing a seven year jail sentence. What has poor Pussy done? Why, just this: she meowed her disapproval of the big dog in the Kremlin.

The Pussy in question is actually three members of Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist punk rock band. Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Ekaterina Samutsevich, all in their twenties, have been in custody since March, arrested for their part in protests against Vladimir Putin’s re-election to the presidency earlier this year. It’s a sign that the more things change in Russia the more they remain the same; that free speech is a right more often defined by its absence.

The whole case is tinged with some ludicrous colours, nothing more ludicrous than the offence itself. They were arrested for performing an impromptu punk prayer in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, beseeching the Virgin to ‘Drive Putin Out.’

That’s it; for that they will be held for a total of ten months in detention. When the case eventually, if ever, goes to trial they could face another seven years if convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Bail has been repeatedly denied despite the fact that two of the women have young children. There have even been calls to deprive them of their parental rights along with their liberty.

I should make it clear that I’m not defending Pussy Riot’s actions: the motives may have been right; the setting was wrong. There are many ordinary Russians, impeccably Orthodox in belief, who disapprove of the church’s links with Putin and the Kremlin. Nothing was gained by offering what amounts to a sacrilegious insult. But the state’s reaction, and the obvious bias of the judge, is grossly disproportionate, a sign of all that is wrong in Russia.

How Stalin, sleeping fitfully under the Kremlin Wall, would marvel at modern Russia. The Orthodox Church, which he and his comrades subjected to systematic persecution, is once again a power in the land. The hierarchy, which has close ties to Putin, supports the continuing incarceration of the three women, though the majority of ordinary believers want them to be released.

Boris Akunin, a popular writer of crime fiction, has described the “state’s malice” towards the women as “disgusting.” It certainly is, but there is more than simple malice here. The whole process is acquiring Gothic overtones, reminiscent of past prosecutions for witchcraft. Salem, it might be said, has flown east.

During a court appearance last month Mikhail Kuznetsov, a lawyer acting for one of the Cathedral guards, accused Pussy Riot of being motivated by the same “Satanic forces” that carried out the 9/11 attacks on America. The punk band is apparently the "tip of an iceberg of extremists, trying to break down the thousand year edifice of the Russian Orthodox Church by creating a schism, guiding the flock through trickery and cunning not to God, but to Satan. Behind this stands real enemies of our state, and Church."

A heavy indictment indeed, if one believes that opposition to Putin has demonic overtones. Democracy and free speech would also seem to have a devilish character in modern Russia. Well, by and large, they always have. Satan is back in Moscow. Readers of Mikhail Bulgakov will surely love the irony.



About the Writer

Anastasia is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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4 comments on Putin Persecutes Pussy

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By TonyBerkman on August 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I'm certain they are the tip of the iceaberg. At least we are able to witness the tip :)

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By TonyBerkman on August 17, 2012 at 04:03 pm

Pussy Riot was found guilty Friday of hooliganism that was motivated by religious hatred. The rockers laughed when the verdict was read. They face up to 3 years in prison. Outside the court house, almost 1,000 of Pussy Riot's supporters chanted "Shame!" "Fascists!" and "Freedom to Pussy Riot!"

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By Anastasia on August 19, 2012 at 07:55 pm

Garry Kasparov was among them. They got two years in jail essentially for making a political point. The Orthodox Church seemingly now 'forgives' them. Who, I wonder, is going to forgive the Orthodox Church?

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By TonyBerkman on August 19, 2012 at 09:59 pm

lets forgive them after they get sentenced to jail. that makes everything alright. Putin and his church are a joke.

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