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“Mother of God, Blessed Virgin, drive out Putin!”
August 17, 2012 5:22 AM   Subscribe

Pussy Riot found guilty of anti-religious ‘hooliganism’ for church protest. [NYTimes.com] Previously Previously.
posted by Fizz (182 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fuck Putin.
posted by Fizz at 5:23 AM on August 17, 2012 [34 favorites]


The closing statements of the three members, translated.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 5:30 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


They have legally lost in much the same way that Mandela and King did.

Legal loss, moral win.

I wouldn't be surprised if they are very carefully put in a black (vory/mafiya) run prison that they end up dead or HIV positive in though. They've got intentional roosters written all over them: sometimes the prison authorities set it up so it's impossible to avoid becoming one.
posted by jaduncan at 5:35 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The closing statements of the three members, translated.

Here's the actual link.
posted by John Cohen at 5:35 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm going to listen to loud, dirty, punk music all fucking day. And when people ask me why, I'm going to tell them "because I can."

!
posted by JimmyJames at 5:35 AM on August 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


[Some comments deleted. The current Assange post is thataway]
posted by taz at 5:36 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


What a disappointing outcome, although I guess it was to be expected.

If there is a silver-lining in this, it is that the Pussy Riot trial represents a serious misjudgement for Putin. Ten years ago he might have been able to persecute his critics with ease, but today there is far more opposition to him when he does so, and the Pussy Riot affair may have galvanised some of that opposition while providing a very visible example of quite how Putin maintains his control. There is a glimmer of hope in that perhaps.
posted by mattn at 5:39 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wonder what the sentence is gonna be.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:40 AM on August 17, 2012


If there is a silver-lining in this, it is that the Pussy Riot trial represents a serious misjudgement for Putin.

From the NYTimes article, worth keeping in mind:
While the case has allowed opponents of Mr. Putin, the president, to portray his government as squelching free speech and presiding over a rigged judicial system, it has also handed the government an opportunity to portray its political opponents as obscene, disrespectful rabble-rousers, liberal urbanites backed by the West in a conspiracy against the Russian state and the Russian church.
posted by Fizz at 5:41 AM on August 17, 2012


"it has also handed the government an opportunity to portray its political opponents as obscene, disrespectful rabble-rousers, liberal urbanites backed by the West in a conspiracy against the Russian state and the Russian church."

Bingo. I am reading that they have been found guily of "hooliganism motivated by religious hate" and apparently the judge emphasized the religious hate aspect saying that the women were driven by "hate and hostility against believers."
posted by three blind mice at 5:43 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Please take moderation discussion to metatalk. ]
posted by taz at 5:46 AM on August 17, 2012


I'm not surprised, but I am disappointed. I hope something can be worked out for them -- suspended sentences, early release, something like that.
posted by Forktine at 5:49 AM on August 17, 2012


Is the Russian Orthodox Church in any way being bullied/manipulated by Putin? Or are they pushing forward with these charges for their own political agenda? I do not know much about Russian Politics or any possible connection between Putin and the State Church. Links will be appreciated.
posted by Fizz at 5:55 AM on August 17, 2012


The commenter on the NYT article who writes "My respect for [Putin] has gone up considerably" -- that's a troll, right?

Please tell me that's a troll.
posted by Slothrup at 5:57 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Guardian has a live feed from the courtroom.
This link to Gary Kasparov's Facebook page appears to confirm the arrest and includes a copy of the photo posted below.

They add this:

Garry Kasparov has just been arrested outside the Moscow courthouse where the Pussy Riot trial is taking place. He was not there to protest, simply to attend, and the police cornered him and dragged him into the police van. This photo shows the police assaulting him inside the van. We hope he is all right and we will provide updates when we have them.
posted by Fizz at 5:59 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


any possible connection between Putin and the State Church

Both Putin and Patriarch Kirill are KGB alumni. Patriarch Kirill is also rather appreciative of Putin.
posted by Skeptic at 6:00 AM on August 17, 2012


Kirill also enjoys a nice watch.
posted by lily_bart at 6:03 AM on August 17, 2012


More on the arrest of Gary Kasparov. An unconfirmed picture tweeted of what appears to be the world chess master inside a police van.
posted by Fizz at 6:04 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep mis-reading the name as "Patriarch Krill."
posted by aught at 6:07 AM on August 17, 2012


Looks like some of you didn't get the memo. MeFi loves Putin. When he flexes his dictatorial muscles like this it's just to make us swoon.
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 6:07 AM on August 17, 2012


Ooooh.. Big Surprise.
posted by ReeMonster at 6:11 AM on August 17, 2012


What would be the modern, acceptable, synonym for "kangaroo court?"
posted by tyllwin at 6:17 AM on August 17, 2012


I hope something can be worked out for them -- suspended sentences, early release, something like that.

Russia doesn't work that way.
posted by acb at 6:22 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am going to upload a video of to the internets of myself debasing photos of Putin in all kinds of disturbing ways. Why? Because I can, and fuck Putin, and I didn't really want to visit Russia any time soon anyway.

Anyone have Putin'a address?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:23 AM on August 17, 2012


I have asked all my lawyer friends to ell me what hooliganism is and they seem always to point to the House of Representatives. in the US.
posted by Postroad at 6:29 AM on August 17, 2012


Anyone have Putin'a address?

Don't worry, he's ex-KGB. Send your mail to somebody like Kasparov and I'm sure Putin will be cc'd anyway.
posted by Skeptic at 6:30 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am going to upload a video of to the internets of myself debasing photos of Putin in all kinds of disturbing ways. Why? Because I can, and fuck Putin, and I didn't really want to visit Russia any time soon anyway.


You're such a freedom fighter!
posted by c13 at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is the Russian Orthodox Church in any way being bullied/manipulated by Putin? Or are they pushing forward with these charges for their own political agenda? I do not know much about Russian Politics or any possible connection between Putin and the State Church. Links will be appreciated.

The Russian Orthodox Church was always close to the government, usually in a subordinate role. This was the case under the Czars, with the Church's privilege guaranteed in return for its loyalty to the Czar. This was interrupted by the Russian Revolution, though Stalin revived it to an extent during World War 2 (the Russian Orthodox Church was an excellent nationalistic motivator). Under Putin, it has come back with a vengeance.
posted by acb at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


What would be the modern, acceptable, synonym for "kangaroo court?"

What's wrong with Kangaroo Court?
posted by biffa at 6:34 AM on August 17, 2012


What's wrong with Kangaroo Court?

It insults Kangaroos.
posted by Fizz at 6:36 AM on August 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I have been taking too much joy in real journalists saying "Pussy" for too long.
Now I feel a sadness I did not take this seriously.

Admittedly, I think what they did was in bad taste, and I think"Fuck religion", but it requires a stern talking to. Not.... this.
posted by Mezentian at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if they are very carefully put in a black (vory/mafiya) run prison that they end up dead or HIV positive in though. They've got intentional roosters written all over them: sometimes the prison authorities set it up so it's impossible to avoid becoming one.

Given their unrepentance to the end, I'm afraid you may be right. They may probably be counted as martyrs from now on.
posted by acb at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2012


Admittedly, I think what they did was in bad taste

This is not about religion. What they did was highlight the injustice of the Putin regime for a global audience, and humiliate a tyrant. They are heroes
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 6:52 AM on August 17, 2012 [33 favorites]


"Fuck religion"

More "fuck the nexus between Putin's move to a quasi-dictatorial role and a Russian Orthadox Church with a Patriarch who uses Church authority to help legitimise that", I'd say.
posted by jaduncan at 6:53 AM on August 17, 2012 [17 favorites]


They went into a (admittedly probably public) small space and abused it. I count it as a minor infraction, but... annoying.

More "fuck the nexus between Putin's move to a quasi-dictatorial role and a Russian Orthadox Church with a Patriarch who uses Church authority to help legitimise that", I'd say.

No, I am pretty sure I dislike all religion. And I would normally be okay with disrespect to that sort of thing.
posted by Mezentian at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2012


The sentence is two years.
posted by howfar at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2012


Heh.. hopefully 2 years is enough time to learn how to consume poultry properly.
posted by c13 at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2012


The commenter on the NYT article who writes "My respect for [Putin] has gone up considerably" -- that's a troll, right?

You can't expect the Russian State to go easy on punk rock women protestors, do you? The next step will be people marrying their pets, then the step after is Anarchy! Don't you see the slippery slope?

What would be the modern, acceptable, synonym for "kangaroo court?"

Well, as we learned in a recent thread, a kangaroo martini is another name for a vodka martini, so at least there is a sort of Russian theme going on....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:01 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, I thought you were characterising their action as merely "fuck religion", and you're referring to your own attitude.

My apologies for the misunderstanding.
posted by jaduncan at 7:02 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh. We're cool.
Let's form a punk rock band and deploy to Russia.

Putin needs a Thatchering.
posted by Mezentian at 7:04 AM on August 17, 2012


I hope something can be worked out for them -- suspended sentences, early release, something like that.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky to the LOLphone please? Mikhail?

What do you mean he's still inside after 10 years even after winning a European Court of Human Rights judgement about moderately insane due process and legal violations?
posted by jaduncan at 7:05 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Certainly the "Punk Prayer" has no anti-religious content from the translations I've read. It is an attack on the Church and the regime and the connections between them. I believe someone else once went into a place of worship and attacked such hypocrisy. In the case of this hooligan, he even turned some tables over.
posted by howfar at 7:07 AM on August 17, 2012 [16 favorites]



It's about more then just Putin.

We Are All Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot is the most important band of 2012. That's what you'll hear from countless artists, including Kathleen Hanna and Tobi Vail, feminist icons and founding members of seminal riot grrrl group Bikini Kill. Since three of the Russian punk group's members were detained this spring on grounds of "hooliganism" for performing a song that included the lyrics "Mother of God, Virgin Mary, drive Putin away" inside of a Moscow church, there has been no shortage of commentary and activism in their defense. But perhaps Hanna summed it up best: "SERIOUSLY THEY ARE IN A FUCKING CAGE!!!"

Bikini Kill and the 1990s riot grrrl movement were huge sources of inspiration for Pussy Riot in their fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin via public performance art. This makes sense aesthetically and politically in Russia, where feminist politics are scarce. "Liberalism in Russia is a peculiar beast," former Pitchfork contributor Michael Idov wrote last week in The New York Times. "Gender equality [remains] firmly outside its scope."

posted by Jalliah at 7:09 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I believe someone else once went into a place of worship and attacked such hypocrisy. In the case of this hooligan, he even turned some tables over.

Well, he also got into some trouble afterwards, mind you.
posted by Skeptic at 7:11 AM on August 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


Putin mis-calculated on this one.
These girls have become a martyrs and symbols of his opponents.

The trial has brought greater and more far reaching voice to the girls.
posted by Flood at 7:12 AM on August 17, 2012


Russia deserves better than Putin.

Sad day. My heart goes out to these girls. Putin should be executed.
posted by roboton666 at 7:14 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


We just need to work out the Russian for Streisand Effect.

Нижняя внимание певицы, maybe, although that seems a little unfair to Pussy Riot in this case.
posted by jaduncan at 7:15 AM on August 17, 2012


We just need to work out the Russian for Streisand Effect.

Эффект Стрейзанд
posted by lily_bart at 7:18 AM on August 17, 2012


Oh, and there's a translation of the song on the Guardian live feed:
Punk-Prayer "Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away"

(choir)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away

(end chorus) ...
Black robe, golden epaulettes
All parishioners crawl to bow
The phantom of liberty is in heaven
Gay-pride sent to Siberia in chains

The head of the KGB, their chief saint,
Leads protesters to prison under escort
In order not to offend His Holiness
Women must give birth and love

Shit, shit, the Lord's shit!
Shit, shit, the Lord's shit!

(Chorus)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, become a feminist
Become a feminist, become a feminist

(end chorus)

The Church’s praise of rotten dictators
The cross-bearer procession of black limousines
A teacher-preacher will meet you at school
Go to class - bring him money!

Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, better believe in God instead
The belt of the Virgin can’t replace mass-meetings
Mary, Mother of God, is with us in protest!

(Chorus)

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away

(end chorus)
"Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin
Bitch, better believe in God instead"

This in particular makes it hard to read as antitheist so much as anti-ROC hierarchy/Gundyaev in particular.
posted by jaduncan at 7:19 AM on August 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


(I will admit that "Shit, shit, the Lord's shit!/Shit, shit, the Lord's shit!" probably didn't help them in a Russian court).
posted by jaduncan at 7:20 AM on August 17, 2012


We need to deploy Siouxsie. Stat.
Is she still slothing in France?
posted by Mezentian at 7:24 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am obviously not putin's biggest fan, and maybe wasn't the worst Russia ever had for a leader, but I place him the ranks of nicolae ceausescu in how I view his legacy.

I dunno, maybe calls for his head are over stated, but I have no admiration or respect for him beyond fearing him like I would a monster.
posted by roboton666 at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2012


"the Lord's shit!"

Does that mean the "shit of the Lord" or "the Lord is shit" , the difference would be great.
posted by elpapacito at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2012


"pussy" "riot" and "hooliganism"
That's a journalistic trifecta right there.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, he also got into some trouble afterwards, mind you.

Perhaps the Church and the Kremlin are confused about who the baddies were meant to be in that story. It's like me always wanting them to burn Howie at the end of The Wicker Man.
posted by howfar at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I guess I thought "kangaroo court," like many colorful old phrases, was somehow crypto-racist or something. Screw Putin and carry on.
posted by tyllwin at 7:29 AM on August 17, 2012


Whenever I read about Putin, I am reminded of this particular quotation:
The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.
posted by Fizz at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


Perhaps the Church and the Kremlin are confused about who the baddies were meant to be in that story.

This could be a sort of anti-Godwin: "You know who else was convicted of blasphemy?"
posted by Skeptic at 7:37 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Does that mean the "shit of the Lord" or "the Lord is shit" , the difference would be great.

Mmm, on looking in Russian it doesn't look like the above is a great translation.

In Russian that line is "Срань, срань, срань Господня"

It's literally "shit, shit, shit of the lord", but срань Господня is used as "shit of God", roughly a literal translation of "holy shit" so there's a pun there.

I'd say that it is a pun about the Patriarch sucking rather than a "fuck you God", but I'm only an intermediate Russian speaker so if languagehat or someone wants to weigh in that would be great.
posted by jaduncan at 7:39 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wish I could share that sentiment Fizz, but Russia's long and effectively unbroken history of authoritarianism is profoundly depressing. When you factor oil and gas into the equation, the problems can seem overwhelming.

That's not a counsel of despair of course. Where there is life there's hope, but we need to keep Russia on the agenda as probably the greatest problem in international politics. Systemic changes in the world's approach to the country are probably necessary. For example, a major reason for pursuing alternative energy sources is to reduce the ability of Russia's despots to run it as an oil-state. The Russian people need our support, not just right now, but probably for the foreseeable future.
posted by howfar at 7:39 AM on August 17, 2012


(and that'll teach me to trust Western journalism regarding Russia. Did the Exile horse semen teach me nothing?)
posted by jaduncan at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2012


I think it's a stretch, if not disingenuous, to say that there's not a religious component to this, too. I understand the concern at there being a link between the Russian Orthodox Church and the government, but to say it's always been hunky-dory is just completely wrong. To say that they're BFFs even today is wrong. So there is a religious component to this which can't be denied or explained away just on the basis that (1) the protesters are right in attacking Putin and the church or (2) religion is wrong and so who cares that their protest was in a church.
posted by resurrexit at 7:41 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


To say that they're BFFs even today is wrong.

Let me put it this way: to what extent can you imagine the Patriach backing someone who isn't Putin/someone Putin cares about from United Russia? Surface disagreements, yeah. Seperate power centers with occasional disputes, yeah. But let's be honest; absent some *major* falling out it's hard to imagine the two men not backing each other up when it comes to the crunch, and both of them know that.
posted by jaduncan at 7:45 AM on August 17, 2012


I guess what I mean to say here is that they aren't always perfectly in sync, but both men reinforce each other's power base.
posted by jaduncan at 7:46 AM on August 17, 2012


To say that they're BFFs even today is wrong.

"MOSCOW (Reuters) - The head of the Russian Orthodox church on Wednesday called the 12 years of Vladimir Putin's rule a "miracle of God" and criticised his opponents, at a gathering where religious leaders heaped praise on the prime minister." Wed 8 Feb 2012.

Why shouldn't a protest against the Church and the regime take place in a church? The notion that you can't attack the Russian Orthodox Church because that makes you like the authoritarian communists seems a bit of a stretch as a criticitism of a protest against an authoritarian former member of the KGB.
posted by howfar at 7:51 AM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


From Twitter:

@mrcolmquinn Next time you see a staged photo of Putin doing something macho remember he is scared of a non violent group of young women. #pussyriot
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:53 AM on August 17, 2012 [33 favorites]


> You're such a freedom fighter!

That wouldn't be the point. The point would be to relish the fact that I live in a country where I can do something like this.

You do raise a cogent point though. What constructive thing could someone do if one were so inclined? I ask out of seriousness, and from the standpoint that since you think making fun of Putin serves no worthwhile purpose I am sure you have a better idea?

Here's what I would like to do if possible:
  1. Write Putin a letter suggesting he grant presidential pardons. These women have already spent months in jail.
  2. Contribute some cash to these women's legal defense funds (I am sure they have huge bills at this point).
  3. Legally acquire some Pussy Riot music.
I'm open to additional suggestions, but I still haven't given up on the idea of public mockery of Putin. Seriously, I doubt he gives two shakes what people in other countries think of him, but when you're an asshat trying to build a legacy it might actually sting when the world's populace turns you into a joke.

Case in point: Rupert Murdoch. He's seen his empire crumble, his lieutenants arrested, his children ostracized, his cronies scramble to distance themselves, comedians tossing pies at him, and the company he built start to show cracks. I'm making an analogy, but to me Putin no longer deserves deference.

It's not always about fighting for freedom. Sometimes it's enough to celebrate the freedoms you do have. Again, I'm open to ideas to make an actual difference.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:59 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can't buy this kind of publicity. Their next album will be on Sony and will go platinum. Unless they're smart. But the point is: they'll have a lot of options as a band ...after jail.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:02 AM on August 17, 2012


This is not about religion. What they did was highlight the injustice of the Putin regime for a global audience, and humiliate a tyrant. They are heroes.

No, this was pretty clearly intended to be blasphemous.

I think the Putin government is criminal, corrupt, and antidemocratic. But that doesn't mean every method of calling attention to this is right. They could have gotten a lot of publicity by setting off bombs. That would have been wrong. So is disrupting prayer in a church. They would have been well within their rights to protest outside the church (and if they'd been arrested for that, I'd agree they're free speech martyrs. But blasphemy in a church mostly just makes them jerks. Brave jerks, but still jerks.

(Sentencing is another matter... A month in jail or a fine would be one thing. Several years in jail is too much.)
posted by Jahaza at 8:02 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


You can't buy this kind of publicity. Their next album will be on Sony and will go platinum. Unless they're smart. But the point is: they'll have a lot of options as a band ...after jail.

After jail? I wish I had your naïve optimism.
posted by acb at 8:03 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Right. I'm praying for them not to be dead.
posted by cavalier at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think the Putin government is criminal, corrupt, and antidemocratic. But that doesn't mean every method of calling attention to this is right. They could have gotten a lot of publicity by setting off bombs. That would have been wrong. So is disrupting prayer in a church. They would have been well within their rights to protest outside the church (and if they'd been arrested for that, I'd agree they're free speech martyrs. But blasphemy in a church mostly just makes them jerks. Brave jerks, but still jerks.

Again: it is not only about Putin, it's about the nexus between Putin's authoritarianism and the church legitimising that in return for being accepted and promoted by the state.

Hence the protest is in a church, and the lyrics talk extensively about the Patriarch's relationship with Putin rather than solely about Putin.
posted by jaduncan at 8:05 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


After jail? I wish I had your naïve optimism.

Or you could settle for a sense of humor.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:06 AM on August 17, 2012


cjorgensen: That wouldn't be the point. The point would be to relish the fact that I live in a country where I can do something like this.

I'm sure they are free to scorn the US, too. To demonstrate how your freedom is greater than theirs, you should demonstrate against the power structures here, as they are doing there. I guess that would be something like Occupy.

However, there have been a lot of questionable arrests of the Occupy movement, too, so while I think we are more free than they, we might concentrate more on gripping our freedom all the more tightly, rather than boast that it can't happen here.
posted by gilrain at 8:09 AM on August 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


They would have been well within their rights to protest outside the church (and if they'd been arrested for that, I'd agree they're free speech martyrs. But blasphemy in a church mostly just makes them jerks.

Also, to be honest, when the Patriarch makes political statements from within the church such as calling Putin a "miracle from God" who "rectified the crooked path of history" he makes it a venue of political expression. Why should he be immune from protest inside those churches? That's the price of walking into the role of political partisan rather than merely spiritual leader.

Religion doesn't get a special pass, and I don't know why you'd think it does.b
posted by jaduncan at 8:10 AM on August 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


Not trying to make light of their situation BTW. If a jail sentence equals a death sentence, or something as bad, then I'm out of line for making a joke.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:11 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The point would be to relish the fact that I live in a country where I can do something like this.

Not in this state. Disrupting a religious service is a class a misdemeanor in New York.
posted by Jahaza at 8:12 AM on August 17, 2012


OK. Jahaza, setting aside NY state law, why do you think a church that is nakedly politically partisan should be immune from protest within it?
posted by jaduncan at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2012


Anagram maker says Pussy Riot = Trio spy US. That's the real reason they got jail time.
posted by Xurando at 8:14 AM on August 17, 2012


But blasphemy in a church mostly just makes them jerks. Brave jerks, but still jerks.

It's comments like this that make me think religious belief is not compatible with democracy. I mean, Jesus, what century is this?
posted by empath at 8:16 AM on August 17, 2012 [23 favorites]


Not trying to make light of their situation BTW. If a jail sentence equals a death sentence, or something as bad, then I'm out of line for making a joke.

A flavour of what can happen to political prisoners:

Anti-corruption campaigner beaten to death in prison whilst in an isolation cell (nice touch) before trial.

Outcome [BBC]: nobody goes to prison so far.
"Charges have been dropped against a doctor in the case of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a Russian jail amid claims of torture and neglect.

Larisa Litvinova was one of two doctors facing charges. The case was dropped because the statute of limitations had expired, reports said.

Mr Magnitsky, who worked for a Western investment fund, was detained after accusing officials of tax fraud.

He died after "deliberate and inhumane neglect", a report found.

His high-profile death at the age of 37 was taken up by human rights groups as one of the most glaring examples of corruption and prison abuse in modern Russia.

He had suffered from pancreatitis and gallstones and had been found with broken fingers and bruising to his body, the Kremlin's Human Rights Council said in July 2011. There were, it said, grounds to suspect that he had died as a result of a beating."
Extra highlight:
In a statement his investment fund, Hermitage Capital, said he had been directly under her care from 7 October 2009 and she had "refused all medical treatment" to him.
If people want you dead or injured, you probably will be. This isn't about specific people's money, so I doubt they'll end up dead. But I doubt very much it's going to be a very nice time for them.

My cynical guess: Half of Russian prisoners are ill, and anecdotially it's not uncommon for people to be intentionally exposed to HIV if they annoy the hierarchy enough. This might be a bit too high profile though; best to just let them sink into obscurity.
posted by jaduncan at 8:30 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, at the General Consulate of Russia in New York.

The Mayor's office responds.
posted by griphus at 8:32 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


(Oh, and people also get stuck in cells with prisoners with untreatable TB sometimes)
posted by jaduncan at 8:34 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, due to the way antibiotics were administered (or rather, administered, cut off, then administered again) they're almost guaranteed to contract, and much more likely to die of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis in a Russian prison. There's a documentary called Mark of Cain, ostensibly about Russian prison tattoos, but it's really just an incredibly harrowing look into the post-Soviet penal system.
posted by griphus at 8:34 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Heh. Jinx.
posted by jaduncan at 8:35 AM on August 17, 2012


I don't think that's fair, what business is it of the Mayor's office of New York that a trial is occurring in Russia? International diplomacy is not really their department; citizens protesting an international consulate's actions to the contrary..
posted by cavalier at 8:36 AM on August 17, 2012


If people want you dead or injured, you probably will be. This isn't about specific people's money, so I doubt they'll end up dead. But I doubt very much it's going to be a very nice time for them.

My cynical guess: Half of Russian prisoners are ill, and anecdotially it's not uncommon for people to be intentionally exposed to HIV if they annoy the hierarchy enough. This might be a bit too high profile though; best to just let them sink into obscurity.


Scary indeed. I'm hoping they won't experience anything like that because, like you said, it's not about money. But still. The idea of Jail in Russia is terrifying. They're young girls for God's sake.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:37 AM on August 17, 2012


Liquidwolf: They're young girls for God's sake.

You probably didn't mean to, but this sounds patronizing. We should moan that people are treated this way, in Russia, not that specifically young women are.
posted by gilrain at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Mr. Putin. Vladimir. Can I call you Vladimir?

OK. Look, man. I miss Joe Strummer a lot, too. I know how you feel. But this plan of your to bring him back to life by pissing his ghost off so badly that he bursts out of the crypt, well, it's just not going to work.

Sorry, man.
posted by COBRA! at 8:41 AM on August 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


The two photos of arrests in NYC I've seen so far both were of masked protestors. Protesting while wearing a mask is illegal in NYC as some folks from Anonymous learned the hard way last year.
posted by Jahaza at 8:44 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The two photos of arrests in NYC I've seen so far both were of masked protestors. Protesting while wearing a mask is illegal in NYC as some folks from Anonymous learned the hard way last year.

Why?
posted by vogon_poet at 8:46 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


OK. Jahaza, setting aside NY state law, why do you think a church that is nakedly politically partisan should be immune from protest within it?

I am actually curious about your reasoning here, and not looking to mock even if we disagree.
posted by jaduncan at 8:46 AM on August 17, 2012



You probably didn't mean to, but this sounds patronizing. We should moan that people are treated this way, in Russia, not that specifically young women are.


Well yeah, of course. I'm just saying that as young girls they might be more targeted and possibly less able to defend themselves physically then some others.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:47 AM on August 17, 2012


THAN..some others.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:48 AM on August 17, 2012


The point would be to relish the fact that I live in a country where I can do something like this.

You mean, in USA you can go into a major church and openly call for an overthrow of POTUS? Or have an orgy in a museum, prance around naked in a mall, stuff chickens into your vagina at the frosery store, etc, etc? And you wouldn't be arrested? Good for you, I suppose. Because, as recent Occupy protests show, you can't do all that much. In or outside of Free Speech Zones.

Oh, and see Jahaza's post above.
posted by c13 at 8:48 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


less able to defend themselves physically then some others.

THAN..some others.


I was going to say. Self-defence is hard enough, it's a bit much to expect them to do it for everyone in the cell. ;)
posted by jaduncan at 8:50 AM on August 17, 2012


Whoa, so Putin was "anointed by God" ? Blasphemy! Berlusconi is the only anointed one! He said so! Here's a picture of some GREAT ASS for you to forget all about this mumbo jumbo and resume your normal programming.
posted by elpapacito at 8:50 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You mean, in USA you can go into a major church and openly call for an overthrow of POTUS? [snipping things not at issue at this trial]

a) this is not what was being said, it was a protest against church and state being politically interlinked and reinforcing executive power;
b) you might get arrested if you protested about that link in Utah in a Mormon chuch, yes;
c) arrested isn't the same as prosecution being undertaken;
d) whatever sentence you'd get for a minute of *non-violently singing a song and resisting being ejected* wouldn't be similar to two years in a Russian jail.
posted by jaduncan at 8:56 AM on August 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


whatever sentence you'd get for a minute of *non-violently singing a song and resisting being ejected* wouldn't be similar to two years in a Russian jail.

I think you and a lot of others have swallowed the coolaid.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:00 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hated as the old state apparatus was in Russia, they welcomed the KGB (Putin) back into power in because Putin's enemies and their policies, policies supported by the West, were tantamount to suicide.

Oh, of course it's the West's fault.
posted by falameufilho at 9:01 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not what was being said

Virgin Mary, Mother of God, put Putin away
Рut Putin away, put Putin away


Yeah, whatever. Say exactly the same words here in the US (changing the names, of course) and see what happens.
posted by c13 at 9:05 AM on August 17, 2012


It takes a lot of shitty punk bands way longer than 2 years to achieve great success. When they get out of prison they'll be set. Good move, girls!
posted by ReeMonster at 9:06 AM on August 17, 2012


hardeeharhar!
posted by howfar at 9:07 AM on August 17, 2012


So, all of you nerds were totally up in arms, when aided and abetted by the the U.S. under President Clinton, criminals and thieves in business suits with economics degrees looted the former Soviet Union under the guise of radical free market reforms? Did you have a polite debate about the wisdom of said reforms while being puzzled as life expectancy plummeted from 64 to 57 in just four years?

Yeah, it was a terrible idea to send over Chicago school advisors who hadn't made the cut over here (and then reimported one of the worst - hello Larry Summers) and to dissolve the commodities intermediary bodies in favour of a terribly managed and corrupt free for all. What makes you assume that people don't think that? The post-dissolution USSR was handled terribly badly, and probably could have looked a bit like a Western-allied China if it hadn't been.

I even have sympathy for Putin, and think that he's trying to preserve the primacy of the Kremlin because he believes that otherwise Russia would fall back into the Yeltsin years. It just doesn't mean that people have to agree with the needlessly repressive approach to poltiical debate, and is somewhat of a different issue to your economic point.

But yeah, if it hadn't been for the 90s there might not have been such support for strong-man politics. It's also a bit unfair to describe Putin as just a KGB thug; it's good to remember that he had to reclaim the country from the hands of competing oligarchs at a point where it wasn't even certain that the Kremlin was the most powerful actor in the country.

If he'd honestly handed over to Medvedev and walked off into the sunset, he'd have left Russia incomparably better than he found it and been a good-to-honest Russian hero feted for the rest of his life. His decision not to do that cannot be so easily pinned on the West.

But, you know, assume that everyone here has a terribly ill-considered opinion if you wish.
posted by jaduncan at 9:08 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, of course it's the West's fault.

How could it be? It was only a Cold war..
posted by c13 at 9:09 AM on August 17, 2012


What are remedies for the Obama administration to start pursuing? I'd like to know what voters here can do to help redirect our country's friendly relationship with a dictatorship.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:12 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Russians AND the Church? Hmm... hard to decide which to hate more.
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:14 AM on August 17, 2012


Okay, I know the motive for all this was heavily political, but these young women HAD to know how the Orthodox hierarchy-and the Orthodox faithful in general-would take this. I'm thinking this would be somewhere along the line of taking a pig for a stroll in a mosque in Mecca.

I suspect that they knew they'd be spending time in jail for this one and are at least somewhat mentally prepared for it.

(My son is Orthodox. He tells me the Russian variety is the strictest. Which is saying something.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:14 AM on August 17, 2012


Of course Putin can scarcely be understood without the Yeltsin years. But in turn, Yeltsin can't be understood either without 70+ years of Soviet Union. Which, again, are scarcely comprehensible without centuries of Tsarist tiranny, which were in turn preceded by a lovely outfit called the Golden Horde, and so on.

In short, it's turtles all the way...
posted by Skeptic at 9:21 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


What are remedies for the Obama administration to start pursuing?

FIRE TEH MISSLES!!!

clown..
posted by c13 at 9:21 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


What are remedies for the Obama administration to start pursuing? I'd like to know what voters here can do to help redirect our country's friendly relationship with a dictatorship.

Sadly, not very much is a better option. People seem to think that the alternative to Putin is more liberal. It really, really isn't, and the only people who don't poll as badly as Kasparov are generally full on racist/far right populist nationalists like Limonov (who is into pan-Slav stuff and pulled the stunt of going to Serbia and tooling around with a sniper unit, to give you a 'liberal alternative' flavour - he's allied with Kasparov in the most unnatural pairing ever). Putin is almost certainly the best option, and I guess that Western policy should be to hope that he steps down rather than falling into the common trap of equating his own office with the interests of Russia.

My son is Orthodox. He tells me the Russian variety is the strictest. Which is saying something.

Georgians would kick your ass for saying this (Catholics go there to study what Orthodox 6th century ceremonies look like, for example), although both Russians and Georgians look down on other Orthodox churches for allowing people seats during the multi-hour ceremonies or allowing the old/sick to sit down on the bench at the side without the priest giving permission.

I can shut up now, I'm aware I've been ridiculously talkative here.
posted by jaduncan at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Anti-religious hooliganism" is a moral duty, as far as I'm concerned. Now more than ever.
posted by Decani at 9:28 AM on August 17, 2012 [16 favorites]


Protesting while wearing a mask is illegal in NYC

I learned this from Ex Machina. Info on the origin of the law from a NYT article: After [landowner Stephen Van Rensselaer IV] moved to evict tenants, disgruntled farmers disguised themselves as "Indians," dressed in "calico gowns and leather masks" and attacked agents of the landlords. The court papers said the tactics adopted by these rebel groups ranged from "tarring and feathering" to murder, including a sheriff.
posted by mediated self at 10:16 AM on August 17, 2012


This is a real turning point in the history of respect for freethought and dissent in Russia.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 10:17 AM on August 17, 2012


it was a terrible idea to send over Chicago school advisors

Actually it was Harvard economists who assisted in the looting of Russia, specifically the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID) with the encouragement of Clinton treasury secretary Larry Summers.

The Chicago economists assisted in the looting of Iraq. Just trying to keep the villains straight.
posted by JackFlash at 10:17 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a real turning point in the history of respect for freethought and dissent in Russia.


A starting point would be good, too.
posted by griphus at 10:18 AM on August 17, 2012


"Anti-religious hooliganism" is a moral duty, as far as I'm concerned. Now more than ever

Interesting point, as afaik the accusation moved against the pussy riot was indeed that of inciting hatred, hence that of being anti-religious hooligans, the polar opposite of religious hooligans (zealots) but hooligans nonetheless.

Considerhow the RIAA, MPAAs et al. have equated copyright infringement with "piracy", hence framing copyright infringement as the equivalent of looting property through violent means and murder. That's ridicolous, but if you repeat it again and again and again it gradually becomes...truthyness.

Now I don't have the text of pronouncement, nor did I follow the russian media, but I think it would be interesting to see how the Pussy Riot were framed. Maybe indeed as "hooligans"?

That goes almost hand in hand with "punk", for the fine distinction of behaving irriverently and irritatingly with, for instance, an iconoclastic purpose, is very different from behaving out of a misguided, misdirected herd instinct!

But do people know about the fine distinction? I doubt, and no doubt few media will try to hammer this distinction out.
posted by elpapacito at 10:29 AM on August 17, 2012


the accusation moved against the pussy riot was indeed that of inciting hatred

Luckily, hate speech laws written in English can never be misused like that.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 10:36 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


What would be the modern, acceptable, synonym for "kangaroo court?"

They were committing a crime. They knew they were committing a crime. They wanted to get arrested as a way of attracting attention to political/religious corruption. They almost failed.

It's a common tactic for peaceful protest movements to deliberately get themselves arrested as a way of pointing out that the law is bad and/or that local law enforcement has become thuggish. It worked for Rosa Parks.

However, unlike Rosa Parks, Pussy Riot broke a law that actually does exist for a good reason, potentially a very serious tactical error. If a gang of priests had infiltrated a Pussy Riot concert and interrupted it by seizing the stage, throwing incense around and blessing everything (everything) those priests would quite rightly be charged with disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor. (I'm not sure what the equivalent charge would be under Russian law, but something like that) That was their tactical mistake: if they had been charged with a misdemeanor and granted a suspended sentence it would have given Putin and the Church a chance to look magnanimous.

Perversely, the two year sentence is what makes their protest a success. Two years in jail for singing? Now Putin looks thuggish.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:38 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I watched the video this morning for the first time. (Seems so... minor.) Anyway, there are four women dancing up at the altar, not three. Does anyone know who the fourth is, and why she wasn't put through the sham trial as well?
posted by mudpuppie at 10:53 AM on August 17, 2012


> Not in this state. Disrupting a religious service is a class a misdemeanor in New York.
A misdemeanor? How could one ever live a normal and full life with a misdemeanor on his record? The NY law. Strangely, I'm not finding many and convictions. I'm for sure not finding stories of people serving jail time. This is also not something I'd likely do.
> You mean, in USA you can go into a major church and openly call for an overthrow of POTUS? Or have an orgy in a museum, prance around naked in a mall, stuff chickens into your vagina at the frosery store, etc, etc? And you wouldn't be arrested? Good for you, I suppose. Because, as recent Occupy protests show, you can't do all that much. In or outside of Free Speech Zones.
This statement is full of crazy. If you want to rephrase in a cogent manner with actions one might actually take I'll respond.

My point is I have no fear of protesting anything. When I think a politician is a racist bigot and homophobe I generally let that person know. I proudly sign my name to a letter calling him a screwhead and go to bed without fear I'll be taken away. I'm not an envelope pusher. There are already people out there testing the boundaries of speech. Everything I want to say fits comfortably within what I believe to be legal. I think this is great, and the beauty is I have legal representation in the event others disagree with my interpretations of free speech laws.

If I held truck with a church I wouldn't fear going into one and making my position known, but this would be windmill tilting on a massive scale.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:11 AM on August 17, 2012


I'd like to know what voters here can do to help redirect our country's friendly relationship with a dictatorship.

Vote for Romney?
posted by BWA at 11:13 AM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mark of Cain is available to view for free online if anyone wants a glimpse into the Russian prisons.
posted by griphus at 11:24 AM on August 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Vote for Romney?

Those policies are a combination of the inane and the insane. So he's going to "review" New START, thus weakening diplomatic relations with Russia, to somehow use this reduced influence to support Russian civil society. Oh well, at least Russian dissidents will make some new pen-pals during the "exchanges [sic] program". Someone to write to from prison.

Speaking as European, I don't particularly relish the idea of substituting energy dependence on Russia for energy dependence on Turkey and US allies in the Middle-East. If he'd suggested improving European energy independence, I might believe that he actually wants the US to lead the free world, rather than dominate the "free world".

The 21st century will not be a US century any more than the 20th century was a British century. Anybody who thinks otherwise is just a bit embarrassing in their naïveté.
posted by howfar at 11:38 AM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Looks like writing Putin will serve no purpose other than catharsis, since:
For messages related to appeals against court decisions, it is imperative to remember the following.

Under the Constitution of the Russian Federation, only courts can administer public justice. The judicial authorities are independent and work separately from legislative and executive authorities. Decisions by judicial authorities can be appealed in the procedural order established by the law. Applicable legislation prohibits any intervention in administration of justice.
Emphasis theirs.

But here's the address all the same:

President of Russia Vladimir Putin
23, Ilyinka Street,
Moscow, 103132, Russia.

cite
posted by cjorgensen at 11:47 AM on August 17, 2012


OK. Jahaza, setting aside NY state law, why do you think a church that is nakedly politically partisan should be immune from protest within it?

Say a fundamentalist Christian rock band broke into a liberal Unitarian service and performed an obscene song blasting that church's endorsement of gay marriage, LBGTQ ordination, etc. What would your view be then? Would you think the band should face any charges?
posted by zipadee at 11:54 AM on August 17, 2012


This statement is full of crazy. If you want to rephrase in a cogent manner with actions one might actually take I'll respond.

I just listed some of the other "actions of protest" that they've done. Your idea with posters of Putin will fit right in.
posted by c13 at 11:54 AM on August 17, 2012


Would you think the band should face any charges?

I guess if they were asked to leave and didn't, they'd be guilty of trespass? Disturbing the peace?

But it's irrelevant what they say. If Pope Riot burst into a Catholic church, disrupting a ceremony and started blasting punk dogma and throwing sacramental wine on the audience, I'd expect them to face the same charges. In a free country, that is.
posted by hattifattener at 12:14 PM on August 17, 2012


Say a fundamentalist Christian rock band broke into a liberal Unitarian service and performed an obscene song blasting that church's endorsement of gay marriage, LBGTQ ordination, etc. What would your view be then? Would you think the band should face any charges?

For a one minute song? I'd hope they were ejected and maybe a restraining order should be sought if they were disruptive enough? Other than that, no, I don't think that criminal charges would be warranted. It's an awfully petty thing to complain about.

To make it equivalent they'd have to be protesting the open backing of Obama and statements calling Obama a "gift from God" and the like. In that case I'd have a hard time complaining about Republicans protesting that.
posted by jaduncan at 12:21 PM on August 17, 2012


Would you think the band should face any charges?

Hmm. Under English law the relevant offence would be failure to comply with a police direction to leave land in the event of an aggravated trespass. That is under s69 CJPOA 1994. The maximum penalty is 3 months imprisonment or a level 4 standard scale fine (currently £2,500). I and many others believe that this goes too far, and that standard public order powers to enable the police to remove the trespassers should be sufficient. Trespass is essentially a civil matter and should be dealt with accordingly.

In short then: No I do not believe that the fundamentalist Christian band should face any criminal charges.
posted by howfar at 12:25 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pussy Riot may be guilt of 'hooliganism". but Putin is certainly guilty of "wankerism". See, even I can make up a silly charge.
posted by Eekacat at 12:26 PM on August 17, 2012


Arguing whether or not it was a crime seems so trivial. It is a crime. If a punk band did this in the US they would probably be considered "viral" and either fined or given community service. These girls face a very high likelihood of much suffering and perhaps death. Which, sadly, may be the point.
posted by M Edward at 12:39 PM on August 17, 2012


Under English law the relevant offence would be failure to comply with a police direction to leave land in the event of an aggravated trespass.

Also Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act of 1860.

This barrister also suggests it could be considered a Religiously Aggravated Offense under s4A or s5 of the Public Order Act.
posted by Jahaza at 1:10 PM on August 17, 2012


A 2003 House of Lords report ahead of the amendments to the Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act of 1860 cites Home Office statistics that there were 60 prosecutions and 21 convictions under that act from 1997-2002.
posted by Jahaza at 1:14 PM on August 17, 2012


Also Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act of 1860.

This barrister also suggests it could be considered a Religiously Aggravated Offense under s4A or s5 of the Public Order Act.


Heh, if you like. This soon-to-be-lawyer suggests that the case would more realistically make a Met Inspector (at the highest) sigh and say "look, just take a caution for breach of the peace, go home, and don't do it again".
posted by jaduncan at 1:16 PM on August 17, 2012


I have been taking too much joy in real journalists saying "Pussy" for too long.

NPR hourly news summary this morning referred to them as, simply, " a punk rock band".

How quickly they fall ...

... in line.
posted by Surfurrus at 1:20 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is, notably, unless they fall over painfully or get quietly kicked on the way out. In that case the local brass are likely to consider it a draw if everyone just pretends it didn't happen but the protesters get told that more will happen if they did it again and it's written up as a "verbal warning".

People protested the Scientology centres in London, and a couple stood inside and made quasi-amusing chants to all the people outside. No arrests. We're just not all that sensitive about religious protest here (and, contrariwise, when Christian Voice disrupted the Jerry Springer opera nothing happened to them either). That's the exciting rough and tumble of protest in a democracy and such.
posted by jaduncan at 1:25 PM on August 17, 2012


That said, I did see one of them get pushed out quite roughly and told to "fuck off" by the somewhat irritable PC who'd been stuck outside to stop people going in...I'm just not sure that's the same as two years in a Russian jail, or indeed committing to any form of criminal action at all.
posted by jaduncan at 1:27 PM on August 17, 2012


Thought this might be a good time for a link to THE YEARS OF STAGNATION AND THE POODLES OF POWER, an amazing essay (with videos) by documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis about the history of punk/protest in Russia since the 60s.
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:29 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


ENGLISH Common Law? Really?
posted by c13 at 1:34 PM on August 17, 2012


Putin's message: if you're pro Pussy Riot you're against the Orthodox church. You might think an unjust trial would damage Putin, but it fits with his strategy of pitting 'simple people' against the 'creative class'
posted by homunculus at 1:41 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


This barrister also suggests it could be considered a Religiously Aggravated Offense under s4A or s5 of the Public Order Act.

I'm no particular crime expert, but I think the s4A POA might be difficult to prove, because the intent element is going to be hard to demonstrate. I think the s5 offence is probably made out.

Addison doesn't describe his logic for regarding the offence as being religiously aggravated (the aggravation being under ss28 & 31 CDA 1998, in fact), and I'm not sure that I see it. He seems to be reaching a bit on that one. The protest wasn't motivated by hostility toward anyone in the church (the victims), whether based on their membership of a religious group or not. Furthermore, no hostility was expressed toward anyone in the church, again whether based on their membership of a religious group or not. Hence neither s28(1) (a) or (b) is made out.

Section 2 of the Ecclesiastical Courts Jurisdiction Act of 1860.

That's pretty clearly made out, yes. "Indecent" in this context essentially signifying improper for a sacred place.

You're not getting more than 3 months even in the worst case, unless you buy the very dubious religious aggravation argument.
posted by howfar at 1:47 PM on August 17, 2012


You're not getting more than 3 months even in the worst case, unless you buy the very dubious religious aggravation argument.

Seriously, caution or (at the most) a suspended sentence.
posted by jaduncan at 1:50 PM on August 17, 2012


Putin's message: if you're pro Pussy Riot you're against the Orthodox church. You might think an unjust trial would damage Putin, but it fits with his strategy of pitting 'simple people' against the 'creative class'

Red-meat culture-war politics is pretty much the same around the world, varying only in specific details and severity of consequences.
posted by acb at 1:52 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh of course you're not, jaduncan. I'm not suggesting that these are real possibilities, just pointing out that Jahaza's link is strongly over-egging the theoretical pudding.
posted by howfar at 1:53 PM on August 17, 2012


*not = right
posted by howfar at 1:54 PM on August 17, 2012


According to the latest update of the Guardian article, the sentence is to be served in “a prison colony”, which presumably means a gulag. This isn't looking hopeful...
posted by acb at 2:20 PM on August 17, 2012


Kind of makes you pine for the days when religion was officially the opiate of the masses, rather than young musicians being jailed for "offending" churchgoers.
posted by anothermug at 3:33 PM on August 17, 2012


if you're pro Pussy Riot you're against the Orthodox church.

oh I see, so religion has been hijacked in russia too, where a bunch of lunatics (financed and protected by some power that be) claim that they speak with god or that they are a the sole representative of god, basically treating the entire russian population as a bunch of imbeciles who can't tell a prayer to reject a corrupt church-state relationship from religious hatred against orthodox believers.

reminds me of one western country.
posted by elpapacito at 4:21 PM on August 17, 2012


Garry Kasparov: ‘They Were Trying to Break My Leg’. The chess champion and Russian opposition leader was beaten and arrested Friday after showing up at the sentencing of anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot. He tells Eli Lake about the horrific ordeal.
posted by homunculus at 4:49 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


All this, and I notice the MacNeil Newshour still won't say the band's name.
posted by happyroach at 5:01 PM on August 17, 2012


Pussy Riot Trial: Topless FEMEN Activist Chainsaws Memorial Cross In Ukraine (VIDEO, NSFW)

FEMEN previously.
posted by homunculus at 5:40 PM on August 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


All this, and I notice the MacNeil Newshour still won't say the band's name.

Judy Woodruff just said it.
posted by homunculus at 6:15 PM on August 17, 2012


Pussy Riot Trial: Topless FEMEN Activist Chainsaws Memorial Cross In Ukraine (VIDEO, NSFW)

That is some straight-up awesome protest shit.
posted by anothermug at 6:49 PM on August 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Moscow Dispatch: The Pussy Riot Sentencing
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:39 AM on August 18, 2012


Russia Today hit by DDoS as anti-Wikileaks group claims responsibility: Antileaks says it's responsible, but the timing could more to do with the Pussy Riot verdict than Wikileaks.
posted by homunculus at 10:39 AM on August 18, 2012


Potentially good news, everyone - there's a big domestic backlash:

Highlight is that Patriarch's office just said this - "Without putting the correctness of the court's decision into any doubt, we call on the state authorities to show mercy to the convicts, within the framework of the law, in the hope that they will refrain from repeating blasphemous actions".

Very, very close to calling for a pardon.

If they do pardon this will have been an utter debarcle though; the bad side of looking thuggish for conviction *and* looking weak for the later pardon? Pssh.
posted by jaduncan at 12:16 PM on August 18, 2012


Putin, Pussy Riot, Hooliganism and the Syrian Bloodbath
posted by homunculus at 4:55 PM on August 18, 2012


Patriarchy Riot
The Russian Orthodox Church is on holy war footing. The ‘sacrilege’ of Pussy Riot is no isolated incident, Patriarch Kirill says, but part of a wave of attacks on the church, ranging from accusations of financial irregularity to seemingly random acts of vandalism against church property. The attack on the church is not just anti-religious, according to pro-Kremlin media, but part of a larger geopolitical campaign by America to destabilise Russia.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:03 AM on August 19, 2012


Regarding homunculus' FEMEN video above, kids, don't try that at home. Long hair caught in a chainsaw is the best way to take the top of you skull off a la Lucy Liu's character in Kill Bill.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 4:20 AM on August 19, 2012


Say a fundamentalist Christian rock band broke into a liberal Unitarian service and performed an obscene song blasting that church's endorsement of gay marriage, LBGTQ ordination, etc. What would your view be then? Would you think the band should face any charges?

The power differential and the context is completely different, but knowing Unitarian Universalists? They'd probably try to feed them cookies and talk to them, after determining that they do not have any allergies or dietary restrictions. Or firearms.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:09 AM on August 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Say a fundamentalist Christian rock band broke into a liberal Unitarian service and performed an obscene song blasting that church's endorsement of gay marriage, LBGTQ ordination, etc. What would your view be then? Would you think the band should face any charges?

I think they should be fined and get a good-behaviour bond or its local equivalent, not two years' hard labour in a gulag. Butterflies and wheels and so on.
posted by acb at 9:14 AM on August 19, 2012


Pussy Riot protesters arrested in Marseille: French police detain Pussy Riot protesters for wearing balaclavas amid crackdown on face-coverings
posted by homunculus at 3:21 PM on August 19, 2012


Masha Gessen: Pussy Riot, Modern Russian Women Trapped in Putin’s Time Machine.
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on August 19, 2012


Pussy Riot Trial: Topless FEMEN Activist Chainsaws Memorial Cross In Ukraine (VIDEO, NSFW)

That is a completely retarded and offensive act and doesn't make sense even as an anti-Putin protest. Why would you destroy a monument to victims of the Russian government as a protest against the Russian government? Putin opposed the Ukraine's efforts to have the Holodomor recognized as a genocide and has a history of making dismissive and insensitive comments about it. Google "Putin Holodomor" - destroying this monument is a bit like vandalizing a Holocaust memorial to protest against Ahmadinejad. It's so tone deaf that it makes me wonder if maybe the tinfoil hatters are correct when they claim these protestors aren't Ukrainian feminists at all but actors paid by foreign NGOs to make trouble.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:27 PM on August 19, 2012


-> whatever sentence you'd get for a minute of *non-violently singing a song and resisting being ejected* wouldn't be similar to two years in a Russian jail.

--> I think you and a lot of others have swallowed the coolaid.

... this is an article about a group of protesters breaking into a nuclear launch facility. I think even the most dedicated anti-nuke thinkers probably understand that there is a very simple rationale for why a government would have a no-tolerance policy when it comes to people breaking into nuclear launch facilities. Nuclear launch facilities are just not places where you want a lot of unexpected things happening. In fact, I desperately hope that nuclear launch facilities are the most boring places to work ever.
posted by Winnemac at 8:13 AM on August 20, 2012


Russian police hunt for more members of Pussy Riot: Following sentencing of three women from the all-female group, authorities confirm 'search operations are being conducted'
posted by homunculus at 5:35 PM on August 20, 2012


Pussy Riot protesters arrested in Marseille: French police detain Pussy Riot protesters for wearing balaclavas amid crackdown on face-coverings

I wish I didn't keep thinking of delicious Greek pastries every time I see the word balaclava.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:38 PM on August 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pussy Riot members face threat of violence in Russian jail, lawyer warns
posted by homunculus at 9:34 AM on August 21, 2012


Pussy Riot divides Russian society

Why Our Entirely Reasonable Support For Jailed Russian Punkettes Could Trigger World War III
Part of the hostility to Pussy Riot is that they’ve become a cause-célèbre in the West. Russians have not had a very good historical experience with things the West think Russia should do, going back a few centuries — the memory of America’s support for that drunken buffoon Yeltsin while he let the country and its people sink into misery is still raw — "a painful memory" like John Turturro's character says in "Miller's Crossing," a memory woven tightly into the Russian RNA’s spool of historical grievances. And nothing triggers that reactionary Russian live-wire gene like an earful of Westerners moralizing about any topic, even the most obvious topic, even the topic where it’s 100% clear we’re on the right side for once.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:56 AM on August 22, 2012


In 2008 members of Pussy Riot performed a similar stunt when they shagged in the Moscow Biology museum under a banner that read “Fucking For Medvedev”.

The Exile reported on it at the time, and was censored by their printer on the grounds that it "insulted the honor of the president". Which is a crime in Russia. Who knew!
posted by clarknova at 5:50 PM on August 22, 2012


Yeah, the man of, Russians take pride in not being pushed around by Washington. Anything we recommend is automatically a patriotic thing to defy.

Russia got fucked by us hard, on the recommendations of people like Michael McFaul, who's now our ambassador* for fuck's sake. Mega-corps and out and out thieves bled the bear** brutally, with a State Department blessing, for an entire decade. And now a professional cheerleader for that policy is enjoying diplomatic immunity on their soil. First we fucked them, then we said "fuck you".

The US and the rest of the west's criminality is the only reason Putin and his successors gained the power they did, despite Chechnya, despite mdrTB death camps in Sibera, despite everything else that Russians have to suffer because of him.

Our actions there and at home make our human rights complaints appear laughable things things to ignore. We'd probably be more effective in combating Russian abuses if our officials kept their goddamn mouths shut for a generation or two. Give NGOs some money and let them do that kind of speechmaking. Proxies are how Russia plays it. At this point we should too.


*good job, Barack. Him and two Sachs CEOs as your Treasury appointments. You are either incompetent or a crook. I don't even care who you were at this point. Romney will be worse than you, but that's a shit reason for you to stay in office.

**"bled the bear brutally" is not a euphemisim, as much as some of you wags might want it to be
posted by clarknova at 6:23 PM on August 22, 2012


Pussy Riot is the tip of the iceberg – 'there's a lot of intimidation going on'. Maria Baronova has had her flat raided, her laptops taken, and now faces two years in jail – all for being an anti-Putin activist
posted by homunculus at 9:49 PM on August 23, 2012


"Kasparov declared innocent in unprecendented case"
posted by dabug at 3:06 PM on August 24, 2012


Two Pussy Riot members flee Russia: Two members of band who escaped arrest after February's protest in Moscow's main cathedral leave the country
posted by homunculus at 10:23 AM on August 26, 2012


Pussy Riot: 'we still burn with desire to take Putin's monopoly on power'
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on August 27, 2012


"Pussy" is having a moment: Pussy Riot trial puts the p-word back in the spotlight
posted by homunculus at 5:01 PM on August 28, 2012


'Free Pussy Riot' scrawled 'in blood' above murdered Russian women: Kremlin supporters says murders in Kazan are result of dangerous radicalism but Pussy Riot activists call it crude attempt to damage opposition

WTF.
posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on August 30, 2012


homunculus, I just want to thank you for providing the updates and let you know that someone (probs many people but I can only speak for myself) is reading and appreciates your effort.
posted by prefpara at 2:43 PM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're quite welcome.
posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on August 31, 2012


After Pussy Riot Verdict, Christian Culture Warriors Run Riot in Moscow
posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on August 31, 2012


Russian Prime Minister Medvedev says Pussy Riot should be freed
posted by homunculus at 11:20 AM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


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