News / Europe

Punk Rock Band Jail Sentences Highlight Russian Split

Pussy Riot Jail Sentences Highlight Russia's Spliti
|| 0:00:00
X
August 21, 2012 12:53 AM
Images of the bright balaclavas (masks) of the Pussy Riot protesters in Russia have circled the globe. But how are their anti-Putin protest and convictions in court playing at home? James Brooke talks to Russians in Moscow.

Pussy Riot Jail Sentences Highlight Russia's Split

James Brooke
MOSCOW — The bright balaclavas of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot have circled the globe.  But how are their protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral and their convictions in court playing at home?  Russians are divided on the band.
 
Conservative nationalists support the two-year sentences handed down on Friday.  Outside the Moscow courthouse, a group of men dressed in Czarist uniforms gathered.  They were from from Miloserdie, or Mercy, a Russian Orthodox charity.
 
“I’m sorry, but Christianity doesn’t always mean the freedom to do whatever you want,” said one man, who declined to give his name.  “Our charity, Miloserdie, will bring them their food parcels.  Don’t worry, we’ll feed them well, but behind bars in prison.”
 
Standing nearby was Liya Smirnova, who runs a Russian Orthodox youth organization.  “The main thing for us, believers of the Russian Orthodox Church, is that this kind of madness doesn’t happen in the church again,” she said.
 
But Russia’s westernized liberals disagree.  A woman named Yana came to the courthouse on Friday wearing the kind of brightly colored ski mask that made the band recognizable around the world. 
 
“I came to support the girls, and not only because they have been locked away all this time, but because the court system is completely awful,” she said.  “I’ve followed how the trial has been going, and it’s completely terrible.  I also support them as activists and artists, if I can say it like that.  I saw their first video, and I really liked it.  And I think they did the right thing.”
 
Alla, another band supporter, whose friend was arrested by riot police on Friday said, “no law exists” in Russia.  “There is no law to have these girls sit in jail.  It’s unlawful.  It’s not possible.  And we are all waiting for, and believe and will continue to believe in, their release.”
 
On Monday, police broke up another Pussy Riot mob in central Moscow. 
 
Authorities are searching for two more women who took part in the band's performance six months ago at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral.
 
Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev says the band members' trials, and the trial of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, were ordered by the Kremlin.  “I suddenly understood from the Navalny case, which is fully fabricated, same as with these girls, that it’s only politics.  It’s nothing else,” he said in an interview outside the courthouse. 
 
Lebedev, who worked for many years in London, says the solution for Russia is democracy.  “I mean it's already been invented - the parliament, the elections, the free media, the independent court, and the opposition as a permanent and legal and constitutional authority in the country,” he added.
 
But Lebedev will not stay in the country for long.  He says he is selling his Russian investments and moving to London. 

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

3-day Lockdown to Fight Ebola Continues In Sierra Leone

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kunosoura from: U.S.A.
August 21, 2012 8:53 AM
Media driven hysteria. The full episode isn*t shown in US, extreme public vulgarism, driven by religious hatred. Do taxpayers pay for their elected officials to get involved in such trash ? Nothing better to do ? Sleezy electioneering. If it were in U.S. they would be charged with a *hate crime* and given twenty years and national yellow journalism would have dragged it around for almost as long. In U.S. every time farmer Jones* mule pass a bit of gas, flatulemce, the FBI rushes out to investigate; DHS- americas* Gestapo. And Modanna says ! And that gets into world news. Incredulous.


by: jimmy columbus from: USA
August 20, 2012 11:58 PM
WOW...no freedom of speech there?
Scary,............... I don't know if it's Political or Religious ?...
LONG LIVE, PUSSY RIOT!!!


by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
August 20, 2012 9:32 PM
Science teaches that every population can’t be homogenous, but is heterogeneous. So, why shouldn’t Russians be split in the particular case? Those from so called Miloserdie, or Mercy, a Russian Orthodox charity openly support the church’s involvement into violation of basic human rights and Russian Constitution. Their blasphemy is that they claim themselves as “true believers” as they clearly are not. They are blind sheep led by a shepherd who is undisguised KGB/FSB admirer playing a tune from the mediaeval Bible.


by: Bob Caps from: TEXAS
August 20, 2012 4:25 PM
Money is not the root of all evil, apparently music is. Music is now punishable by imprisonment. FREE PR!!


by: .T.Sanford from: Canada
August 20, 2012 3:59 PM
It's quite obvious that Putin is completely out of touch with the realities of the modern world communications. No matter how rude or hysterical the action by the Pussy Riot, which probably merits a 'time served' sentence at the most, the Russians really blew it. Kinda scary though;since there are much more important issues to be addressed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid