Feature

Russia: Reverting to Soviet repression

Russia is once again jailing artists.

Konstantin SoninVedomosti

Russia is once again jailing artists, said Konstantin Sonin. Three members of the all-female punk band Pussy Riot were arrested five months ago for singing an anti-Putin song during Mass in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. For months, I resisted writing about their plight “because I could not believe that this nightmarish, completely pointless situation was continuing.” I assumed the three would soon be home—after all, the charge of hooliganism is minor, and the accused qualify for leniency because they have small children who need them. But no. The court just ruled that they are to be jailed for at least six more months while they are tried, and then they face another seven years in prison. Lawyers for the supposed “victims”—those who were offended by the stunt—claim preposterously that this band of young women incites extremism and terrorism against religion and the state. Really? All that damage from a single juvenile song mocking the president? “Putting people in jail for any sort of speech is a barbarity worthy of the Dark Ages.” Of course, Russians lived under such barbarous rule more recently, during Soviet times. Is that kind of repression becoming our norm again? 

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