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As Trial Ends, Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot Remains Totally Defiant

 
 
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Feminist punk band Pussy Riot has become a cause célèbre for artistic freedom--garnering support from Madonna and other major artists as well as Amnesty International--after three members were arrested and put on trial for their subversive anti-Putin "punk prayer" routine at a Russian Cathedral (the video of which is below).

They are expected to be found guilty of trumped-up "hooliganism" charges, but as an article we ran at AlterNet last month notes, their arrest and trial have become a huge moment of reckoning for Russian society and a major headache for Vladimir Putin.

Here are some excerpts from band member Yekaterina Samutsevich's closing statements at the trial, which show her to be both defiant and wise.

 

Our sudden musical appearance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with the song “Mother of God, Drive Putin Out” violated the integrity of this media image, generated and maintained by the authorities for so long, and revealed its falsity. In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to combine the visual image of Orthodox culture and protest culture, suggesting to smart people that Orthodox culture belongs not only to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Patriarch and Putin, that it might also take the side of civic rebellion and protest in Russia.

And her thoughts on the message being sent by the trial:

I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees that the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Putin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community. That is all. Thank you.

Another closing statement from member Nadezhda Tolokonnikov, rife with literary historical and Biblical allusions is linked here.

"Free Pussy Riot" has become the battle cry for free speech around the world. Check out Freepussyriot.org for actions.

 

 

 

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at August 11, 2012, 7:05am