Occupy Red Square- Please

Pussy Riot

Russia is up to its old tricks, again. We remember well when we had to save thousands of Jews from this semi-presidential republic that does no allow for any individual practices or beliefs.

Now, it is Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, two members of punk band Pussy Riot, who were freed from prison after serving all but two months of their two-year prison sentences. They were convicted of hooliganism. The government claimed the release marked the anniversary of the adoption of Russia’s post-Communist constitution in 1993, but it’s much more likely this was a publicity stunt to bolster the government’s image before it hosts the Winter Olympics in February. The amnesty not only affects Pussy Riot, but another 20,000 people; 2,000 of those incarcerated, with the rest either on probation or awaiting trial, including invalids, veterans, minors, pregnant women, women with young children and hooligans.

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The event that caused their arrest was a 2012 performance of a punk prayer criticizing Putin at a Russian Orthodox cathedral. The women stated that they hope for a move toward democracy and toward a country with less hate.

To find out more about Pussy Riot try this engrossing 88-minute documentary by HBO or this shorter montage by the English.

Meanwhile, as a result of their experience, Pussy Riot will now put their energies into prison reform where the food served is rancid and moldy; the toilets are filthy; the weekly shower is non-existent; intensive, long workdays making soldiers uniforms in sweatshop conditions; and group punishment for individual mistakes.



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