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Posts Tagged ‘human-rights’

As mentioned before I try to avoid political comment on my blog, but what’s the point of having a virtual soapbox if I don’t stand on it once in a while. Earlier today three members of the Russian “feminist punk-rock musical collective” Pussy Riot (Maria Alyokhina 24, Yekaterina Samutsevich 29, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova 22) were convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment for “hooliganism.” What was their crime? The judge described what they had done “crudely undermined social order”. What the actually did was sing a protest song in church:

The impromptu performance took place On March 3 this year at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow and is said by the band to be a protest at the Russian Orthodox Church leader’s support for Vladimir Putin. I don’t speak Russian so can not comment on alleged blasphemy of the song, but based on the fact the charge wasn’t blasphemy I suggest this is a red herring. Amnesty International have called the ruling a “bitter blow for freedom of expression in Russia” and have quoted a group of Russian lawyers who published an open letter stating “the actions of the three women could not be qualified as a crime and that bringing charges against them was in violation of Russian law.”

Any government or religious group that isn’t open to reasonable criticism or even ridicule isn’t fit to rule or to preach and only helps the case of those who criticise and ridicule in the first place. The fact that the church and president Putin have received support from a lot of Russian people proves that they are strong enough to not need the support of an over zealous legal system. I don’t see this as a matter of right and wrong on the side of the band, this is a reflection on the government and the legal system. I would like to think that even those who support Putin agree with Pussy Riot’s freedom of thought, expression and speech. Freedom of speech that challenges authority has to be a good thing for society especially in a country like Russia that is looking to the future and not its imperial or communist past.

This isn’t just a political rant, it does have a (vague) movie connection, given the coverage the case has received and the fact the band record their stunts, there must enough footage and interest for someone to make a documentary.

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