News / Europe

Moscow Court Bans Pussy Riot Video

Yekaterina Samutsevich, the member of Pussy Riot who was released from jail after her sentence was suspended on appeal, waits during a court hearing in Moscow November 20, 2012.
Yekaterina Samutsevich, the member of Pussy Riot who was released from jail after her sentence was suspended on appeal, waits during a court hearing in Moscow November 20, 2012.
A Moscow court has ruled the video taken of a Pussy Riot protest in February at Russia’s main Orthodox cathedral should be removed from the Internet, along with all of the band's other videos.  The court claims the videos are extremist.

The band’s most highly publicized video shows its members on the altar of Russia’s most prominent Orthodox church calling on the Virgin Mary to deliver them from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The band was protesting Putin’s unprecedented third term as president and the powerful Orthodox Church’s support of him.

The three women were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.  Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are currently serving two-year sentences at prison camps.

Band member Yekaterina Samutsevich was given a suspended sentence.  

She said this is clearly censorship of art and the culture of protesting, which she said is important in any country. Samutsevich described the blocking of Pussy Riot’s videos as horrible, and said she plans to appeal. She has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in connection with the case.

Another video the court called extremist shows the band on Red Square singing a tune entitled “Putin’s Pissed Himself.”

Political analyst Masha Lipman of the Carnegie Center in Moscow says banning the videos is another attempt by the Kremlin to crack down on the opposition.

"This one decision that applies to the video is just one small element out of what has now evolved as a new environment," said Lipman. "An environment that is more oppressive than it was before, in a shift from a mainly manipulative policy of the government with regard to societal activism to a repressive one."

Critics have accused President Putin of launching a mass crackdown on dissent since he took office in May. The Kremlin maintains new laws have been passed to strengthen security and keep the public safe.

Fines for participating in or organizing unsanctioned protests against the Kremlin have increased more than 150-fold; that is more than the average salary of a Russian.

Russia has also expanded its definition of high treason. The new law states anyone who possesses information deemed secret could be jailed for up to eight years for espionage - even if the secrets are not passed to foreign hands. Previous legislation described high treason as espionage or assistance to a foreign state that damages Russia's external security.  

As part of the new law, which was drafted by Russia's Federal Security Agency, "external" has been dropped from the definition. As a result, activists who get help or advice from a foreign state or give information to foreign organizations, including journalists, could be charged with treason. Critics said the new law does not require authorities to prove a suspect damaged state security.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More