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Entries in Pussy Riot (9)

Thursday
Oct182012

Pope Benedict XVI Is No Fan of Russian Punk Rockers Pussy Riot

L'Osservatore Romano Vatican-Pool/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The Pussy Riot trial last summer captured worldwide attention and support from cultural icons like Madonna, Sting and Paul McCartney.  Now, the case has attracted attention from a higher power: the pope.  But unlike those musical superstars, Pope Benedict XVI has reportedly backed their condemnation.

The pope’s stance was revealed in comments posted on the website of Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, following the pontiff’s meeting at the Vatican on Tuesday with the patriarch’s external affairs representative.

“Also discussed was the desecration of Christian holy sites in different countries and the act of vandalism at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in particular.  Pope Benedict XVI expressed solidarity with the position of the Russian Orthodox Church and also his bewilderment over the reaction of the certain mass media to the events,” the statement on Patriarch Kirill’s website said.

Last month, the Russian Orthodox Church urged the women to repent.

According to the Independent newspaper, Pope Benedict XVI’s spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, would not confirm the comments, saying, “I have nothing to say.  This was reported on the site of the Russian Patriarch and it was about a meeting I was not privy to.  I have no intention of disturbing the pope to ask him about it.”

The case of the three young feminist punk rockers drew worldwide condemnation after they were convicted of “hooliganism” and sentenced to two years in prison in August for performing a “punk prayer” on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February.  Video of the group dancing and singing on the altar was posted on YouTube, along with a song that begs for divine intervention to help rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

Last week, an appeals court upheld the sentence for two of the women, who will serve their sentence in a women’s penal colony, while commuting the sentence of a third woman who was released.

In comments broadcast ahead of the appeals hearing, Putin said he thought the sentence was justified.  The case of the three women was seen as a bellwether of the Kremlin’s patience with an unprecedented protest movement, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets calling on Putin to go.

Since Putin’s inauguration for a third term as president in May, lawmakers from his United Russia have ushered in a string of laws restricting freedoms in Russia.  That new legislation, along with the case of the three young women, was seen as an effort to intimidate Russia’s opposition.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct102012

Russian Court Frees One Member of Punk Band Pussy Riot

NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- An appeals court in Moscow has suspended the sentence for one member of the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.  Two other members of the group had their sentences upheld.

The three women were sentenced to two years in prison in August for performing a “punk prayer” on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February, in which they begged for divine intervention to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

In comments broadcast last Sunday, Putin said he thought the sentence was justified.

The case of the three women was seen as a bellwether of the Kremlin’s patience with an unprecedented protest movement, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets calling on Putin to go.  Since Putin’s inauguration for a third term as president in May, lawmakers from his United Russia have ushered in a string of laws restricting freedoms in Russia.  That new legislation, along with the case of the three young women, was seen as an effort to intimidate Russia’s opposition.

The trial of the three young feminists attracted worldwide attention and calls for their release from artists including Madonna, Sting and Paul McCartney.

Before the verdict was handed down in August, Putin himself said he did not believe the women should be treated too harshly.  They faced a maximum of seven years in prison on charges of “hooliganism.”

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has called the trio’s detention “unproductive,” but his influence is in question after several recent public disagreements with Putin.

Dueling protests took place outside the courtroom on Oct. 1, with religious opponents of the group carrying Russian Orthodox icons pitted against their supporters brandishing the group’s trademark colorful balaclavas.  Protests in support of the group were planned around the world on Wednesday as well.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct012012

Jailed Russian Punk Feminists' Appeal Delayed

Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/GettyImages(MOSCOW) -- An appeal hearing for three young Russian feminist punk rockers has been delayed after one of the women fired her lawyer and the judge said it would take some time to furnish another one.  The hearing has been rescheduled for Oct. 10.

The three women, members of a feminist punk collective called Pussy Riot, were convicted of “hooliganism” in August and sentenced to two years in prison for a subversive stunt in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in February.  Members of the group jumped on the church’s altar and performed what they called a “punk prayer,” begging for divine intervention to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

Dueling protests took place outside the courtroom on Monday, with religious opponents of the group carrying Russian Orthodox icons pitted against supporters brandishing the group’s trademark colorful balaclavas.  Protests in support of the group were planned around the world Monday as well.

The case of the three women was seen as a bellwether of the Kremlin’s patience with an unprecedented protest movement, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets calling on Putin to go.  Since Putin’s inauguration for a third term as president in May, lawmakers from his United Russia have ushered in a string of laws restricting freedoms in Russia.  That new legislation along with the case of the three young women was seen as an effort to intimidate Russia’s opposition.

The trial of the three young feminists attracted worldwide attention and calls for their release from artists including Madonna, Sting, and Paul McCartney.

Before the verdict was handed down in August, Putin himself said he did not believe the women should be treated too harshly.  They faced a maximum of seven years in prison on charges of “hooliganism.”

On Sunday, the Russian Orthodox Church said in a statement that, if the women repent, they should be granted clemency.  But it remains unclear how much sway the Russian Orthodox Church’s statement will have on the appeal.

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev last week called the trio’s detention “unproductive,” but his influence is in question after several recent public disagreements with Putin.

In what may be a signal of the Kremlin’s unwillingness to show any mercy to the detained women, United Russia lawmakers recently proposed legislation that would outlaw insulting religion.

In an interview from jail published in GQ magazine last week, one of the young women said their arrest has only drawn attention to their cause against Putin’s government.

“We couldn’t even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us,” Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova, 22, said in response to questions that the magazine said had been “smuggled” into the jail through the group’s lawyers. One woman’s answers, the magazine, said, was confiscated.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct012012

Russian Orthodox Church Requests Leniency for Pussy Riot

Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/GettyImages(MOSCOW) -- On the eve of a critical appeals hearing, the Russian Orthodox Church has called for leniency for three young feminist punk rockers who received worldwide attention after performing a subversive stunt in a Moscow cathedral.

On Monday a court will hear the appeal of three members of the group Pussy Riot, who were sentenced to two years in jail in August for what they called a “punk prayer” in Christ the Savior Cathedral, in which they begged for divine intervention to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

The case of the three women was seen as a bellwether of the Kremlin’s patience with an unprecedented protest movement, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets calling on Putin to go. Since Putin’s inauguration for a third term as president in May, lawmakers from his United Russia have ushered in a string of laws restricting freedoms in Russia. That new legislation, along with the case of the three young women, was seen as an effort to intimidate Russia’s opposition.

The trial of the three young feminists attracted worldwide attention and calls for their release from artists including Madonna, Sting, and Paul McCartney.

Before the verdict was handed down in August, Putin himself said he did not believe the women should be treated too harshly. They faced a maximum of seven years in prison on charges of “hooliganism.”

It remains unclear how much sway the Russian Orthodox Church’s statement will have on Monday’s hearing.

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev last week called the trio’s detention “unproductive,” but his influence is in question after several recent public disagreements with Putin.

In what may be a signal of the Kremlin’s unwillingness to show any mercy to the detained women, United Russia lawmakers proposed legislation that would outlaw insulting religion.

In an interview from jail published in GQ magazine last week, one of the young women said their arrest has only drawn attention to their cause against Putin’s government.

“We couldn’t even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us,” Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova, 22, said in response to questions that the magazine said had been “smuggled” into the jail through the group’s lawyers.

One woman’s answers, the magazine, said, were confiscated.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug262012

Feminist Punk Rockers Flee Russia Fearing Prosecution

ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two members of the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot have fled the country, fearing prosecution for an anti-Putin stunt that has already landed three other women behind bars.

In a message posted to its Twitter account Sunday, the group said the two women had left because they faced “danger.”

In February, members of the group performed what they called a “punk prayer” on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, begging for divine intervention to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

Three of them were charged with “hooliganism” and, in a trial that sparked worldwide outrage and support from music icons from Madonna to Paul McCartney, were sentenced earlier this month to two years in prison.

Within days of the verdict, authorities announced they were searching for two other women who were involved in the cathedral stunt.

“Our two participants in connection with the search successfully fled the country,” the group tweeted today. They also defiantly tweeted that they had a dozen members still in Russia and called on feminists around the world to rally.

Rallies in support of the band were held around the world as a verdict in the case against the first three women neared. Artists, including Sting, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand used concerts in Moscow to call for Pussy Riot’s release.

A recent poll released by the independent Levada Center found 44 percent of Russians believed the trial was objective, while only 18 percent believed the outcome was determined by the powers that be. Another 17 percent were doubtful of the trial’s objectivity.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Aug192012

Russian Orthodox Priests Forgive Punk Rockers Pussy Riot

ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Top priests from the Russian Orthodox Church reportedly said Saturday that they have forgiven an all female punk rock group that stormed the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in February to perform what they called a "punk prayer," begging for divine intervention to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

But the clerics' forgiveness may have come a day late for some of the women of the band, called Pussy Riot.

On Friday, three members of the band were found guilty of "hooliganism driven by religious hatred" and sentenced to two years in prison from the time of their initial detention.

In court on Friday the judge scolded the women before delivering the sentence.

"The court believes that such goals of punishment as restoration of social justice, the defendants' reform and the prevention of similar crimes may only be achieved if they are sentenced to imprisonment and serve their terms," the judge said, according to the Russian Interfax news agency.

The trial has sparked outrage around the world and drawn the attention from a chorus of Western music stars, including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Sting.

Their sentence was less than the seven-year maximum and also less than the three years in prison many observers expected. President Putin recently said he believed the women should not be treated too harshly.

The band was defiant before the court session. One member said they would not ask Putin for a pardon.

Outside the court, amid heavy police presence, supporters wearing the band's signature colorful balaclava knit caps held a rally and were joined by prominent politicians and opposition leaders.

Several, including former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and leftist protest leader Sergei Udaltsov, were arrested.

Others placed balaklavas on the heads of statues around town in silent protest.

The case was seen as a barometer of Putin's tolerance of dissent after a winter of unprecedented protests called on him to go.

Rallies in support of the band were held around the world before the verdict. The case also captured the attention of some of the world's most famous musicians.

On Thursday Paul McCartney added his voice to the growing list of music stars calling on Russia to set the women free. Pop diva Madonna spoke out last week from the stage during a concert in Moscow.

Other artists, including Sting, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand have also used their recent Moscow concerts as a platform to call for Pussy Riot's release.

A recent poll released by the independent Levada Center found 44 percent of Russians believed the trial was objective, while only 18 percent believed the outcome was determined by the powers that be. Another 17 percent were doubtful of the trial's objectivity.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug172012

Russian Punk Band Found Guilty of Hooliganism

ANDREY SMIRNOV/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Three members of a Russian all-female punk band today were found guilty of "hooliganism driven by religious hatred" and sentenced to two years in prison from the time of their initial detention.

"The court believes that such goals of punishment as restoration of social justice, the defendants' reform and the prevention of similar crimes may only be achieved if they are sentenced to imprisonment and serve their terms," the judge said, according to the Russian Interfax news agency.

The trial has sparked outrage around the world and drawn the attention from a chorus of Western music stars, including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Sting.

The band, called Pussy Riot, had been in jail since February after performing what they called a "punk prayer" on the altar of Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, asking for divine intervention to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin, who was then running for a third term as president.

The sentence was less than the seven-year maximum and also less than the three years in prison many observers expected. President Putin recently said he believed the women should not be treated too harshly.

The band was defiant before today's court session. One member said they would not ask Putin for a pardon.

Outside the court, amid heavy police presence, supporters wearing the band's signature colorful baklava knit caps held a rally and were joined by prominent politicians and opposition leaders. Several, including former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and leftist protest leader Sergei Udaltsov, were arrested.

Others placed baklavas on the heads of statues around town in silent protest.

The case was seen as a barometer of Putin's tolerance of dissent after a winter of unprecedented protests called on him to go.

Rallies in support of the band were held around the world before the verdict. The case also captured the attention of some of the world's most famous musicians.

Paul McCartney Thursday added his voice to the growing list of music stars in calling on Russia to set the women free. Pop diva Madonna last week spoke out against their detention from the stage during a concert in Moscow.

Other artists, including Sting, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand have also used their recent Moscow concerts as a platform to call for Pussy Riot's release.

A recent poll released by the independent Levada Center found 44 percent of Russians believed the trial was objective, while only 18 percent believed the outcome was determined by the powers that be. Another 17 percent were doubtful of the trial's objectivity.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug162012

Paul McCartney Backs Punk Rockers Against Putin

Dave Hogan/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Sir Paul McCartney has added his voice to the growing chorus of music stars supporting a Russian punk rock group that is on trial for staging an anti-Putin protest on the altar of a Moscow cathedral.

In a letter released Thursday, the former Beatles legend called on Russian authorities to release the trio of female rockers from the band Pussy Riot, who’ve been in prison since March.

The three women face charges of “hooliganism” stemming from their unauthorized performance in February on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral  in which they asked for divine intervention to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin, who was then running for a third presidential term. They could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. A verdict in the trial is expected on Friday.

In the past two months, such artists as Sting, the Red Hot Chili Peppers  and Franz Ferdinand have also used their Moscow performances as an opportunity to call for the punk band’s release.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug092012

Madonna Angers Russian Deputy Prime Minister

Ragnar Singsaas/WireImage(MOSCOW) -- A top Russian official angrily called Madonna "a former prostitute" Thursday after the pop diva came out in support of a Russian punk rock band in jail for protesting President Putin.

“Every former [expletive] seeks to lecture everyone on morality as she gets older. Especially during tours and gigs abroad,” Deputy Prime Minister Dimitry Rogozin wrote on Twitter.

Madonna spoke up for the all female Russian punkers Pussy Riot during a Moscow concert Wednesday. She is playing again Thursday night in St. Petersburg where she has pledged to use the venue to speak out against the city’s harsh new anti-gay laws, which penalize speaking about homosexuality around minors.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow took the unusual step of issuing a warning to American citizens who planned to attend the concerts that they could be the target of unspecified attacks.

The Material Girl took a break from her performance Wednesday to speak out against the detention of three members of the all female Russian punk band that is on trial for an anti-Putin performance.

The group is on trial for their unauthorized “punk prayer” performance on the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral which called for divine intervention to deliver Russia from Vladimir Putin.

The three women face up to seven years in prison if convicted on charges of “hooliganism” for their performance in the cathedral, which has also drawn criticism from the Russian Orthodox Church.

“I know there are many sides to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government. But I think that these three girls -- Masha, Katya, Nadya -- I think that they have done something courageous. I think they have paid the price for this act. And I pray for their freedom,” Madonna said, according to the New York Times.

Rogozin had an angry message for Madonna on Twitter Thursday.

“Either take off your cross, or put on your knickers,” he wrote, according to the BBC.

In speaking out against the band’s detention, Madonna joined artists like Sting, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand who have all used recent concerts in Russia to call for their release.

Addressing the audience from the stage, Madonna also stressed the value of free speech for artists. She reportedly donned a colored baklava knit cap, Pussy Riot’s signature outfit, and also came out wearing a black bra with the band’s name written on her back.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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