Pussy Riot Wins By Losing

Three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced, yesterday, to two years in prison for "hooliganism" and, presumably "general shenanigans and hijinks" for daring to insult Russian President and former KGB officer Vladamir Putin.

The sentence is harsh and will, no doubt, be appealed. It is also the worst thing the Russian courts and whoever pulls their strings could have done. They handed Pussy Riot a victory on virtually every front. The world was watching on this one and the world will respond in a variety of ways that Vladamir Putin cannot control.

  • The world now knows that Russia is a deeply intolerant society. As if it was needed, this was reinforced by a 100 year ban on gay pride parades, which was passed at virtually the same time as the Pussy Riot verdict.

  • The point of their protest got through loud and clear, not just in Russia but all over the world. What could have been an isolated incident in a church became international news. The world now knows that the Russian government is deeply corrupt, intolerant of free speech and no more a democracy than it was during the Soviet days.

  • Pussy Riot is now, and will continue to be, the best known band to ever come out of Russia. The colourful, makeshift ski masks have become an internationally recognized symbol; roughly a female equivalent of the Guy Fawkes mask. The international publicity generated by this incident will guarantee that they have ears around the world, for both their music and their politics, long after the two years are over.

  • Amnesty International has been at the forefront of efforts to intervene in the Pussy Riot case and will, no doubt, continue to be.The international attention brought to this incident by the media and by music stars including Billy Bragg, the Beastie Boys, Madonna, Bjork, Paul McCartney, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and others will indirectly benefit Amnesty International. Increased awareness of and support for Amnesty International will not only benefit Pussy Riot but other political prisoners in Russia and around the world.


So, the two years in prison are certainly harsh. It will be appealed and, hopefully, the women of Pussy Riot will be free long before those 730 days are up. However very rarely, in the history of the world, has a single song, or a single prayer in a single church ever accomplished so much. It more than ironic that the target of Pussy Riot's protest handed them victory on platter while the world watched.



Suggested Reading:

Sign up for Amnesty International e-mail alerts

FreePussyRiot.org

New Statement from Pussy Riot
Foreign Policy: Pussy Riot Is Only The Beginning
Scenes Of Outrage And Solidarity From Pussy Riot Protests Around The World
Previous
Next Post »