Russia's anti-Putin movement gets deeply weird, and then gets tortured by the state.
What's Going on With Pussy Riot, Explained | Mother Jones
Pussy Riot is a Russian, anti-Putin, riot grrrl art collective. The group formed in September 2011, directly after Vladimir Putin announced his run for president (again). The 10 performers are known for dressing up in balaclavas (knitted ski masks with eye and mouth holes cut out) and staging punk-infused protest art shows in Moscow's public spaces.
On February 21, five members of Pussy Riot performed a "punk prayer" at the altar of Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The original cathedral was destroyed by Stalin in 1931 and rebuilt as a godless celebration of the state (later becoming the world's largest swimming pool), but it returned to its function as an Orthodox church in 1994. Pussy Riot stood under the cathedral's elaborate frescoes, punched at the air and cursed, pleading with the Virgin Mary to kick Putin out of power. Watch the video here.
What happened after that?
Two weeks after being led out by cathedral security, three members of Pussy Riot were arrested with a warrant for "hooliganism," a charge for which they could serve up to seven years. They were denied bail, and their trial was repeatedly postponed. Two of the women are mothers of young children, and all three have remained imprisoned for nearly five months.
On Monday, the trial finally began. The defense had little time to pore over 2,800 pages of an indictment, and tweets from Violetta Volkova, one of the defense lawyers, tell of the women being given five consecutive days, from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., to read their charges in a cage-like cell at court. Today, the defense claimed that after 11 hours in court yesterday deprived of food or sleep, the women were too exhausted to proceed. According to the Moscow Times, Judge Marina Syrova eventually promised to let the defendants take a break.
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