Three members of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot are on trial for hooliganism charges. The charges were made after the band criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin during a performance in one of Moscow’s cathedrals.
Journalist Miriam Elder quoted one of the accused women Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, in a recent Guardian article: “This is a trial of the whole government system of Russia, which so likes to show its harshness toward the individual, its indifference to his honour and dignity. If this political system throws itself against three girls … it shows this political system is afraid of truth.”
While prosecutors have asked for a three-year sentence, Putin asked the court to show leniency. Andranik Migranyan, who knows Putin well and is currently director at the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, “I don’t think that President Putin is afraid of anything or anybody.”
Migranyan called the band’s actions intentionally organized and “provocative.” The situation comes down to the fact that Putin doesn’t want to appear weak. “Democracy is not a thing where you can do anything you want to do,” Migranyan said. “Democracy is law and order.” Although the Orthodox Church is very insulted, some who are also offended believe that the women should not be in jail.
OutFront tonight: Moscow Correspondent for The Guardian Miriam Elder.