Pussy Riot Ruling is a Big Joke, Just Like Putin Is

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alyokhina are not exactly household names, but their inanely named band’s brush with Russian law is front page news once more. Earlier this summer, the three women (who comprise part of the Moscow punk band Pussy Riot) were handed a two-year jail sentence. Their trial and sentencing occurred in the aftermath of an impromptu concert at the Christ the Savior cathedral on February 21, in which the three rockers asked the Virgin Mary that Putin be “put away.”

But on Wednesday, Samutsevich’s fortunes took a turn for the better when judges at Moscow City Court – the same court where the trio was originally sentenced – decided to release her from jail. Samutsevich’s two bandmates and her dad felt joy at today’s ruling. But make no mistake: the ruling was not victory for free speech. It was a win for Samutsevich (for obvious reasons) as well as the newly 60-year-old Putin’s laughable brand of “morality.”

Samutsevich was not freed because Russian judges all of a sudden decided that freedom of speech was of paramount importance.; nor was she released because the prospect of sending her and her cohort to a prison camp for two years appeared an absurd overreaction. Rather, Samutsevich’s saving grace was her tardiness in joining her bandmates’ raucous show.

The BBC reports, "The judges on Wednesday accepted the argument of Samutsevich's lawyer - that Samutsevich had been thrown out of the cathedral by guards before she could remove her guitar from its case for the band's 'punk prayer.'"

Talk about a technicality.

Speaking on television of the original decision to jail the three women, Putin said: “It's right that they were arrested, it's right that the court took that decision, because you can't undermine the foundations of morality, our moral values, destroy the country.”

The Pussy Riot hearings have made clear that in Russia, using questionable election results to waltz from the presidency to the prime minister’s office whilst presiding over a sea of censorship and corruption does not “undermine the foundations of morality.” What really threatens the fabric of society is screaming to mediocre punk rock while jumping around a church in a ski mask.

What a joke.

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Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul

A Chicago native, Jeff has been to every US state except Hawaii. After graduating from McGill University in 2011, he worked as a dishwasher and bookstore clerk before going on to serve as editorial assistant for the Hyde Park Herald, the main local paper covering President Obama's neighborhood, where Jeff also lives. Fluent in Turkish, Jeff has written for the Washington Times, the Chicago Weekly and the McGill Daily, his alma mater's weekly student newspaper. His work can be seen at jeffhba.tumblr.com. He can be contacted at jeffhba@gmail.com or at his YouTube channel, on which he posts videos from time to time: YouTube.com/MCLyteNyng.

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