The Absurd and Outrageous Trial of Pussy Riot -By Marsha Lippman| The New Yorker

The trial of Pussy Riot, which opened in Moscow, on July 30th, and is expected to conclude with a verdict on Wednesday, has been an outrageous, astonishing, biased, exhausting, ridiculous, and at times comic spectacle. But at the end of the day it boils down to an unapologetic demonstration of force by the state. The three women, members of a punk-rock band who fell victim of the state’s repressive machine, showed, in contrast, spiritual and moral strength.

The young women of Pussy Riot are being tried for “hooliganism” and inciting “religious hatred,” on the basis of a “punk prayer” they performed in Moscow’s Christ the Savior cathedral. For this performance, called “Our Lady, Chase Putin Out!” the prosecutor on Tuesday demanded three years in a labor camp for each defendant.

The women insist that their act was artistic and political in nature—and, indeed, politics is why they are being prosecuted, as part of a broader crackdown by Vladimir Putin’s government. Throughout the trial, though, the judge, Marina Syrova, consistently removed or ignored any mention of politics. In a characteristic exchange, one of Pussy Riot’s lawyers asked one of the “injured parties,” “Was Putin’s name pronounced in the cathedral?”; the judge responded, “Question dismissed.” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the three women, said in written statement that the main point of the performance was “a protest against illegitimate elections and Patriarch Kirill’s endorsement of President Putin.” “I thought the church loves all its children, but it appears that the church only loves those who vote for Putin,” wrote another band member, Maria Alekhina, in hers. Both statements, along with one from the third woman, Yekaterina Samutsevich, were read by a defense lawyer, and ignored by the judge.

Instead of politics or art, the prosecution, with full compliance of the judge, was fully focused on the pretense that the issues were ones of faith, God, the church, believers’ offended feelings—even the devil.

Excerpt, read: The Absurd and Outrageous Trial of Pussy Riot -By Marsha Lippman| The New Yorker

Related: Meeting Pussy Riot -By Henry Langston| VICE

The Pussy Riot Trial Exposes a Russian Court System in Crisis -By Natalia Antonova| Guardian UK

Punk Band Pussy Riots’s Courtroom Drama Grips Russia -By Agnence France-Presse| Raw Story

Free Pussy Riot! (Website)

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