Russian Court Decision in Pussy Riot Case Does Putin No Favours
A Russian court's decision to sentence radical feminist punk band Pussy Riot to two years in a labour camp for 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred' does President Vladimir Putin absolutely no favours, and makes his administration look even more overly-authoritarian and rigid than it already did.
These three 'convicts' - young women with children - sang an anti-Putin song in a Russian church, were arrested and thrown in jail, and put on show in Khamovnichesky District Court where they were treated like dangerous criminals. In any other country, they would have been fined or otherwise slapped on the wrist, perhaps made to do community service or similar approach to misdemeanors like this. Nothing was damaged in the church, nobody was hurt or injured in any way, except in their pride, political extremism and religious fervour. Cyprus has people who actually stole things from churches and got lower jail sentences than PR.
Why is the judicial system in Russia putting people on trial on religious grounds? What happened to the separation of church and state, was that part left out in the Russian Federation's constitution?
The more fuss the authorities make about this case, the more ridiculous they look to the rest of the world. Imagine the most depressing scene in a Dostoevsky novel, combine it with some Kafkaesque courtroom and a bit of the Spanish Inquisition, and you've got the PR affair, something out of a bygone era that has no place in a modern Russia or a modern world.
The sooner an appeal exonerates or reduces the sentence, the sooner the Russian judicial system can regain some of the credibility it just lost in a show trial nobody accepts as proportional or balanced.
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