Russia: One imprisoned member of Pussy Riot freed

From Capitalist Media:

Moscow (CNN) — A Moscow court upheld two-year prison terms for two Pussy Riot band members but ordered a third freed with a suspended sentence Wednesday.

The Russian punk band members were sentenced in August for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in one of the Russian Orthodox Church’s most important cathedrals in February.

Yekaterina Samutsevich was expected to walk out of the court building Wednesday. The court upheld the sentences for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina.

Although Samutsevich is a member of Pussy Riot and was involved in planning the protest act, she was stopped by a guard on her way into the church and so did not perform the “punk prayer” song, the court heard.
Continue reading

Russia: Anarcha-feminist punk band Pussy Riot found guilty, sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for “hooliganism”

From CNN:

Three members of Russian female punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison Friday after they were found guilty of hooliganism for performing a song critical of President Vladimir Putin in a church.

The five months they have spent in detention since their arrests in March count toward the sentence, Judge Marina Sirovaya said.

The judge said the charges against the three women — Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich — had been proved by witnesses and the facts.

The Pussy Riot members were charged after screaming, “Mother Mary, please drive Putin away,” in a protest act in February inside Christ Savior Cathedral, one of Moscow’s grandest houses of worship.

Punk bands perform in support of jailed rockers

Sirovaya rejected the women’s defense that they were acting from political motives, ruling that they had intended to insult the Russian Orthodox Church and undermine public order.

However, the fact that two of them have young children was a mitigating factor in the sentencing, the judge said.

Continue reading

Yekaterina Samutsevich: Closing Statement at the Pussy Riot Trial

FromChtodelat News:

Yekaterina Samutsevich, defendant in the criminal case against the feminist punk group Pussy Riot:

During the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent or express regret for her deeds, or to enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary. Instead, I want to express my views about the causes of what has happened with us.

The fact that Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be used openly as a flashy setting for the politics of the security services, which are the main source of power [in Russia].

Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetics? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, national corporations, or his menacing police system, or his own obedient judiciary system. It may be that the tough, 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; otherwise, the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more convincing, transcendental guarantees of his long tenure at the helm. It was here that the need arose to make use of the aesthetics of the Orthodox religion, historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia, where power came not from earthly manifestations such as democratic elections and civil society, but from God Himself.
Continue reading

Russia: Jailed members of anarcha-revolutionary band, “Pussy Riot” on hunger strike

From Common Dreams:

Three members of Pussy Riot, the Russian feminist punk-rock band, began a hunger strike Wednesday after a Moscow court suddenly told them they must prepare their defense for trial by Monday.

Maria Alyokhina, Yakaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were taken into custody in March, after the group’s February performance of “Virgin Mary Put Putin Away,” an anti-Putin song, inside the Russian Orthodox Church’s main cathedral, asking the Virgin Mary to chase President Vladimir Putin out of power.

The three women were arrested over four months ago and have been held without bail on charges of criminal hooliganism — which carry a possible seven-year prison sentence. Two other female members of the band have avoided arrest thus far.

“I announce a hunger strike because it is unlawful,” said Tolokonnikova, wearing a T-shirt with the famous slogan of the Spanish Civil War, “No pasaran!” (“They shall not pass”), emblazoned across it.

“Until July 9 is not enough (time) for me. I think it is absolutely unlawful,” she said in the Tagansky district court.

“I am categorically against it and I announce a hunger strike,” Alekhina also said after the court delivered a separate ruling on her and another one on Samutsevich.

As the case generates media attention, activists all over the world are advocating for Pussy Riot’s release. Over 100 Russian cultural figures, including some known for pro-government views, have signed a letter calling for the release of the trio. “We see no legal basis or practical reason for the further isolation of these young women, who do not pose any real danger to society,” the letter said.

Video and more here
.