2 (more) years for Pussy Riot

17 Aug

Earlier today, the 3 imprisoned members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to an additional 2 years in prison. The trio have been imprisoned since February, and their treatment and trial have become an increasingly loud cause celebre. The three were charged and sentenced with “hooliganism driven by religious hatred.”

Charging young people with religious hatred in a country wherein atheism was the proscribed national religion for decades is absurd. The 3 women–all in their 20’s–came of age after nationalized atheism; that said, they also came of age in a post-Soviet, presumable “democracy.”  The absurdity borders on the surreal when it is cut with the authoritarian omnipresence of Putin, a noted KGB official during the waning years of the Soviet Union, who more than probably has zero religious sympathy. Is the punishable offense that the women dared to sing on a church’s altar, or what they sang? If the claim is the former, how can the charge still be “religious hatred,” for Pussy Riot was singing against Putin, not against organized religion.

In Russia right now the national religion is Putinism, to rebel against it, to sing an anti-Putin prayer (in a church or anywhere), is to consign oneself to a jail cell. What might have happened without the international outcry? Are the women being made an example of and therefore getting a more severe sentencing? Or, without the exposure, would they have languished in jail even longer?

Is Russia such a backwards state that, not only is punk rock appearing 40 years after the fact, but it’s criminal too?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/17/pussy-riot-sentenced-two-years

http://blogs.voanews.com/russia-watch/2012/08/01/russias-political-summer-olympics-putin-x-pussy-riot/

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