Texas Liberal

All People Matter

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.

Here is an overview of current politics and demographics in Russia from the BBC.

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.

Sure.

Amnesty International has written about this case and has called for Pussy Riot band members to be released.

The excellent website Global Voices has written on this issue.

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.)

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August 18, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. The punk band Pussy Riot was not jailed for “freedom of speech or expression,” neither was it jailed simply for engaging in non-violent political protest. The Russian government does not jail its citizens because they “hate their national freedoms” to free expression and peaceful protest which they are accorded in law. They were jailed because they infringed upon the rights of the majority Russian people to have their religion and its sacred and holy sites respected. If I were to go to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and put on a similar protest in order to express misgivings about some policies in the state of Israel I would be jailed justly and quickly. Please accord the same level of just reporting to the people of Russia as you would to the people of Israel or of America.

    Comment by Robert Gates | September 2, 2012

  2. Forgive me but Christians DO have a right to worship unmolested in their churches…in this country it is even a LAW upheld by the Supreme Court in spite of the efforts of the ACLU and others…it is also a law in Russia as well! While your at it…why don’t you read the filth that they were shouting in that Cathedral…and tell me if that is how worship is conducted in YOUR world?

    Comment by Dennis Boots | December 23, 2012

  3. Your Words: “Here at Texas Liberal, All People Matter.”
    Your Actions: (Except for Christians and Russians).

    Comment by Raymond Lam | January 30, 2013


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