After Sustained Abuse and a Joke of a Trial, Pussy Riot’s Verdict TBA August 17th

by Whitney Kimball on August 15, 2012 · 5 comments Newswire

By now, you’ve probably heard about how a few members of Pussy Riot, the feminist Russian art collective/punk band, were arrested on March 3rd. Reports differ as to how many members were detained, but three out of its ten performers—Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich—have been convicted.

You’ve probably also heard by now of the petition by Amnesty International, protests by Russian civilians, and messages from Madonna, Yoko Ono, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Stephen Fry. We’ve heard reports of abuse in prison and a preposterously dictatorial trial, drawing on caricature and accusations of religious difference in place of actual testimony; by now, we’ve read the infamous assertion by the female prosecutor Yelena Pavlova that “feminism is a mortal sin.” Pussy Riot’s verdict is to be released on August 17th, and it doesn’t look good. As John Lough points out in the Telegraph, “in 92 per cent of the 178 cases overseen by Judge Syrova, the defendants have been found guilty.”

The women have won the support of much of the English-speaking press (The New YorkerThe New York Times, The Guardian). Some, like John Kampfner of The Independent, believe that it’s wishful thinking to hope for the turning point in Russian politics which many are claiming; others, like longtime Putin critic and Russian journalist Masha Gessen, point out that the case has brought Russia to an unavoidable crossroads.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23. Photo courtesy of Reuters.

Madonna performing last week. Photo courtesy of nme.com.

Gothamist has made a comprehensive timeline, but they left out the defendants’ closing statements, which should go down in history among most rousing civil rights speeches.

Yekaterina Samutsevich explained her understanding of Putin’s manipulation of the church:

Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetic? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, the state-controlled corporations, or his menacing police system, or his obedient judicial system. It may be that the harsh, failed policies of Putin’s government, the incident with the submarine Kursk, the bombings of civilians in broad daylight, and other unpleasant moments in his political career forced him to ponder the fact that it was high time to resign; that otherwise, the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more persuasive, transcendent guarantees of his long tenure at the pinnacle of power.

And concluded that “The whole world now sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated.”

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova tells us that “…we are genuinely angered by the fear-based and scandalously low standard of political culture, which is constantly and knowingly maintained by the state system and its accomplices.” But then she adds:

…every day there are more and more people who support us, who hope for our success and especially for our release, [people who represent the system, government agents, people in prison], who say our political act was justified…These people are trying to make life easier for us in whatever way they can and we are very grateful to them for that…

Maria Alyokhina recounts her own experiences with child psychiatric wards, a place where “any teenager who shows any signs of active nonconformity can end up,” where a percentage of orphaned children are treated using the same sedatives “used to subdue Soviet dissidents in the ’70s.” She goes on to conclude:

…for me this trial is a “so-called” trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of falsehood and fictitiousness, of sloppily disguised deception, in the verdict of the so-called court.

Because all you can deprive me of is “so-called” freedom. This is the only kind that exists in Russia. But nobody can take away my inner freedom.

Their statements were applauded by the Russian press.

So what can you do? Well, you can start by grabbing a gas mask and torching some wieners, like ANIMALNY’s Marina Galperina. If Pussy Riot were here, we bet they’d do the same.

  • http://www.facebook.com/egan.frantz Egan Frantz

    The best part about this whole ordeal is that it is real pussy riot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/egan.frantz Egan Frantz

    the best part about this whole ordeal is that it is a real pussy riot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Smith/100002968276653 Ken Smith

    pissed off hot looking russian broads.
    in any language..its the same…”get in the van.”

  • http://twitter.com/kimblomkvist Kim Blomkvist

    Ask your self: how much does communist´s support freedom of speech? How many people didn´t die in the russian commie gulag-camps?
    And just the picture abowe shows one of the members of pussy riot doing a commie-salute. So don´t come around and speak about the missing of freedom of speech in the pussy riot trial!

    • Will Brand

      I think those were different communists, dude.

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