The three convicted members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot have filed for an appeal to the court’s decision. Meanwhile, two other unidentified members of the Russian punk band have fled the country fearing persecution.Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred and sentenced to two years in a prison colony. The band of rotating members made headlines for protesting Vladimir Putin inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, calling the impromptu performance a “punk prayer,” and asking the Virgin Mary to chase Putin away. The demonstration only lasted about 30 seconds.
Russians were divided by the case, some Russian Orthodox Christians were outraged by their choice to protest in a sacred place, while others have rallied to support Pussy Riot’s right to freedom of speech. Some popular musicians have also showed their support for the the three women, including Madonna, Sting , and Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s front man, Anthony Kiedis.
An excerpt from Yekaterina Samutsevich’s closing statement: Our sudden musical appearance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with the song “Mother of God, Drive Putin Out” violated the integrity of the media image that the authorities had spent such a long time generating and maintaining, and revealed its falsity. In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to unite the visual imagery of Orthodox culture with that of protest culture, thus suggesting that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch, and Putin, but that it could also ally itself with civic rebellion and the spirit of protest in Russia.
—Translated by Maria Corrigan and Elena Glazov-Corrigan.
—Translations edited by Liora Halperin, Katharine Holt, Vera Koshkina, Ainsley Morse, Rebecca Pyatkevich, Sasha Senderovich, and Bela Shayevich.
In comic book news… I found this political satire web-comic called Super Putin. I am not sure what the writer’s thoughts on Putin are, but the writer Sergei Kalenik told the AFP “We wanted to stir Russia’s depressing political scene and create some dialogue.” Kalenik is a young PR freelancer, which makes you wonder about the ambivalent message. Is this Pro-Putin? Or is it an absurd way to criticize Putin by complimenting him to such an extreme while portraying his dissidents as mindless zombies. According to some comments on the web-comic’s site, government officials are using blue sirens to plow through traffic in Moscow, which sparked average Russians to protest by putting blue buckets on top of their cars and sometimes on their heads. Super Putin came out last year before Putin became president. You can read it in English here