ISSN 2330-717X

Pussy Riot: Under The Mask Of Popularity – OpEd

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By Olga Denisova

The trial of three members of Pussy Riot punk band charged for performing an anti-Putin protest song in Russia’s main cathedral is the burning issue all across the country.

Society is split into those who back criminal punishment for the three girls and those who think they deserve administrative fines. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina face three years in prison if found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Some activists call the case politically biased as the “punk-prayer” was targeted against Putin while analysts have a different view on the situation. Political analyst Pavel Salin believes that Putin has nothing to do with the case:

Seven members of the band Pussy Riot
Seven members of the band Pussy Riot

“Statements about Putin’s personal involvement in harsh punishment for the girls is dragged in by head and shoulders. The media turned the government vs the band trial into the Church vs anticlericals confrontation. It hits the Russian Orthodox Church and the Patriarch personally as the trial has rallied anti-Orthodox Church radicals.”

Everyone has been waiting for Vladimir Putin’s reaction and last week he finally made a statement saying that the girls shouldn’t be “judged too harsh though there is nothing good in what they did”. Deputy Rector of the Moscow Plekhanov Economic University Sergey Markov doubts that Putin was personally or politically offended by the “prayer”:

“Putin doesn’t care about the performance targeted against him as he had the last six months to get used to far more vicious pranks. So, this is not the case when Putin wants revenge. The girls’ “prayer” offended millions of Russian Orthodox believers who want the government to stop the desecration.”

This April, the then-President Medvedev said that Pussy Riot got exactly what they wanted — popularity . Member of Russia’s Public Chamber Boris Altshuler thinks that the girls hardly wanted popularity of this kind:

“A wise saying has it “when the Gods want to punish us he deprives us of wisdom”. The girls don’t deserve being made martyrs and honored as they offended the believers. The Russian Orthodox Church and judicial system shouldn’t be dragged down to their level, thus, making the girls heroes.”

The Pussy Riot members will know their verdict on August 17.

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VOR

VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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