Saturday, August 18, 2012

Punk Protestors Jailed In Russia

Three members of the punk rock band Pussy Riot where sentenced to two years in  prison earlier this week for a protest prayer aimed at Vladimir Putin as he begins his new six year term as the Russian President. "The girls' actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church's rules," Judge Marina Syrova told the court as she spent three hours reading the verdict, Meanwhile the three girls, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, giggled in the glass courtroom cage they were being kept in. 

Syrova declared all three guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, stating that they had deliberately offended Russian Orthodox believers by storming the altar of Moscow's main cathedral in February to belt out a "punk prayer" deriding Putin. Opponents however described it as part of a crackdown by the ex-KGB man against a protest movement that grew over the winter, attracting what witnesses said were crowds of up to 100,000 people in Moscow to oppose his return to power.

Personally I'm torn, I've never been a fan of Putin and my writing shows that. He is a figure troubling because his rhetoric calls back to the "glory days" of the Soviet Union and his KGB past marks him as a man dangerous in more ways than one. However despite the support of Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting the band called Pussy Riot have never had a hit song or even released an album. It makes me think they were either lucky and became part of a populist movement, or more likely got on the bandwagon in hopes of quick notoriety leading to fame and fortune. In either case the three women are now viewed as martyrs for the movement as they begin their prison sentence. Still I think it would be remiss to mention how these girls jeopardize the movement they are part of. A poll of Russian citizens found only 6% viewed the girls favorably, while 50% viewed them negatively, the rest of the people questioned by independent researchers Levada had no opinion. It may very well be these ladies end up their own worst enemy in the court of public opinion.

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