Punk Band Pussy Riot Jailed In Russia For Engaging In Freedom Of Expression—The Work Of Freedom Is Up To Each Of Us
The Russian punk band Pussy Riot has been sentenced to two years in a Russian prison for exercising free speech and engaging in political protest.
This past February, Pussy Riot staged a performance inside of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. This performance was directed at the linked repressive power of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Pussy Riot has made a practice of staging political concerts in unusual places around Moscow. Above is a Pussy Riot demonstration earlier this year in Red Square. (Photo by Denis Bochkarev.)
After the appearance in the church was posted online, band members were arrested and charged with hooliganism and inciting religious hatred.
The Russian Orthodox Church had the option here to forgive those that trespass, but instead made the call to continue to ally itself with the corrupt and undemocratic power of Vladimir Putin.
Why is so often the case that powerful religious officials cannot get past a sense of perpetual victimhood and so often choose to make common cause with the most retrograde political forces?
Top clerics of the Russian Orthodox Church said that they forgave the band, but still supported the prosecution.
It may seem there is no point to addressing an issue in Russia from where I am in Houston, Texas.
Yet the universal values of free speech and democracy merit our concern no matter where in the world they are under assault.
This case is also a reminder that free speech and freedom from unjust incarceration are hardly matters only for people outside the United States.
Here in our torture-industrial-prison state, no freedom is safe from the forces of big money, a bought government, and millions of mean-spirited and intellectually lazy fellow citizens.
The good news is that we all have the ability to fight back and that very many people all around the world care about these concerns.
As Pussy Riot well understood, the work of freedom is up to each of us.
(Below–Pussy Riot on trial.)