Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 5:27 AM

I Said Putin Would Pardon Pussy Riot. I Was Wrong.

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.03.41 PMRussian President Vladimir Putin has been so lampooned for using staged heroics to boost his He-Man (Master-of-the-Universe) reputation that you’d think he would seize any opportunity to display a genuine human touch and, no less important, a self-deprecating sense of humor.

An ideal opportunity presented itself in February 2012 when his thought police arrested three members of the female punk rock band Pussy Riot. They charged the trio with hooliganism for bum rushing the altar at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, reputedly Russia’s grandest house of worship, and belting out an anti-Putin chorus – complete with the ego-deflating lyrics, “Mother Mary, please drive Putin away.”

For the record, I was not nearly as sympathetic to these Pussy Rioters as virtually everyone else in the West seemed to be. I thought they deserved to be arrested and punished, arguing in “Student Protesters Assault Prince Charles and Camilla” (December 13, 2010) that if it’s okay for England to arrest and jail the son of a Pink Floyd rock star for desecrating a national memorial, surely it’s okay for Russia to arrest and jail these punk rockers for desecrating a national cathedral.

But here is how I thought Putin would/should deal with them, given the worldwide cause celebre their case became:

Putin is on record declaring that these rioters should not be punished too harshly. Therefore, whatever he meant by that, I suspect he will pardon them when he finds it politically expedient to do so (i.e., so that he does not appear to be caving in to self-righteous outrage from Westerners).

(“Putin Gives Pussy Riot the Clamp,” The iPINIONS Journal, August 17, 2012)

120817103149-pussy-riot-band-members-horizontal-galleryIn fact, I thought whatever sentence the judge finally rendered would be suspended (with Putin’s blessings) for time served. And sure enough one of them did receive a suspended sentence.

Unfortunately, the other two, both of whom have young children, have been wasting away in Russia’s infamous penal colonies ever since their arrest. They were sentenced to two years in prison. And no pardon or relief now seems likely before their release date of March 2014, notwithstanding their complaints about “slave-like conditions,” which even periodic hunger strikes by one of them has done nothing to change.

On October 18, the activist [Pussy Rioter Nadezhda Tolokonnikova] resumed her hunger strike, demanding to be transferred from Correctional Colony 14, where she was serving her sentence.

(Pravda, October 23, 2013)

I suppose it was too much to expect that Putin’s little man syndrome would allow him to act big….

Related commentaries:
Putin Pussy Riot

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.

My Books

VFC Painting

Archive

Subscribe via Email


Powered by FeedBlitz