Yesterday wasn’t particularly a good day for the freedom of expression in Russia. On the same day that a top court banned gay pride marches in Moscow for the next 100 years, three young members of the punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in a penal colony. Their crime? Staging an anti Putin protest on the altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Protests supporting Pussy Riot were held in 60 cities worldwide (including one in the capital where chess champion Garry Kasparov was beaten by police); Western governments called the sentence disproportionate; and already the band has released a new single called “Putin Lights Up the Fires.” The Guardian has created an accompanying video. Watch it above….
Does free expression include dancing on the altar of a church that doesn’t belong to you? If this happened in the US in a synagogue or in a mosque, do you think it would go unpunished?
Darrin – I admit, I don’t know the details of this case, and it would really help if we had a translation of this song. As to what you wrote, not belonging to a church isn’t the issue. Did they break and enter? Well, not likely, given old church doors, so I’m guessing the doors were open, as many of our churches are here? They certainly caused a disturbance. And they were disrespectful, which is what punk rock is about. We don’t jail people for disrespect. Two years imprisonment doesn’t surprise me; it’s a new government in Russia, but it’s the same old tune.
I support Pussy Riot. Let’s face it- the Russian Orthodox Church is anything but godly…Patriarch Kiril is in bed with Putin. If one looks closely at their actions, it’s easy to see the neo-imperialism that they are extending into the former Soviet states, like Ukraine. This, and the generally anti-democratic tendencies of the Putin regime, are the main basis for them protesting in a Church. I doubt that protesting in a Church would go well with the public anywhere, but their rationale for it (claiming that the ROC is ungodly anyway) is good analysis and a very interesting media attraction. They made their point and God bless them for it.
Their act wouldn’t go unpunished in the United States, but the punishment would be something more along the lines of 30 hours community service.
Churches do keep their doors open and welcome unknown visitors, like it is also usual in many other religions). Would that be an excuse for behaving disrespectfully? http://bit.ly/JiqAhG
In most Western societies people indeed is not jailed for disrespect (although there are so many different forms of disrespect, so many gradations of democracy and many other indirect ways of punishment). This freedom has been considered by many as a strength and a weakness.
2 years for something like this is redicuous. But what is worse is the underlining issue that they HAD to resort to such extremism to get attention. I hardly think that this is the same thing as it would be in America since there isn’t the same sort of oppression.
That jail sentence is the fucking anti humanitarianism that plagues people. It’s always top down too, never (in non-3rd world countries) from the bottom up. There is no justice in these corporate influenced justice. I guess I’ll stop raging and go back to brooding with some Chomsky book.
@darin… to answer your question: possibly (which is unfortunate if the US is truly committed to freedom of speech). the issue, though, and the message that the US and other nations are sending to Putin, is that the punishment is “disproportionate.”
They defiled holy ground and humiliated all beievers on this planet as well as atheists who respect the right to believe for others. Two years is a good jail term, in my opinion these girls also deserve psychiatric treatment.
The Good Book says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord”.