“In Russian traditional family culture parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents‘ power… The laws should support that family tradition.”
A bill decriminalizing domestic violence has passed its first reading in Russia’s State Duma.
Some 368 lawmakers voted in favor of the law, with just one deputy voting against the plans. One other deputy abstained from the vote.
The bill would remove the charge of „battery within families“ from Russia’s Criminal Code, downgrading it to an administrative offense. Criminal charges would only be brought against offenders if familial beatings took place more than once a year.
The bill was spearheaded by ultra-conservative Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, who is already notorious for successfully lobbying Russia’s controversial “gay propaganda” law.
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Two activists of the Pussy Riot punk-rock group who are being sought by Russian police have fled the country, the band’s Twitter account says.
Three members of the group were jailed this month for staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.
The pair who fled have not been named but the husband of one of the jailed women said the duo had taken part in the cathedral protest in February.
Many in the West condemned the Pussy Riot sentences as disproportionate.
However, the Kremlin has rejected accusations by musicians and some governments that the case was politically motivated.
Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of „hooliganism motivated by religious hatred“ and jailed for two years.
The Twitter account called Pussy Riot Group said: „In regard to the pursuit, two of our members have successfully fled the country! They are recruiting foreign feminists to prepare new actions!“
Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov, told Reuters news agency: „Since the Moscow police said they are searching for them, they will keep a low profile for now. They are in a safe place beyond the reach of the Russian police.“
Yekaterina Samutsevich (L), Maria Alyokhina (C) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R) in court in Moscow (17 Aug 2012) The jailed trio are serving two-year sentences
He suggested that this meant a country that had no extradition arrangement with Russia.
Mr Verzilov told Reuters: „Twelve or even 14 members who are still in Russia actively participate in the band’s work now, it’s a big collective.“
The jailed women are appealing against their sentences.
Following the verdict, Russian police said they were actively searching for other members of the group who had taken part in the cathedral protest.
But they gave no names and did not say how many were being sought.
The jailed women said their performance of a „punk prayer“ on 21 February in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral had been to highlight the Russian Orthodox Church leader’s support for Mr Putin.
Their brief, obscenity-laced performance, which implored the Virgin Mary to „throw Putin out“, enraged the Orthodox Church.
A judge sentenced three members of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot to two years jail on Friday for staging a protest against President Vladimir Putin in a church, an act the judge called “blasphemous”.
Supporters of the women say their case has put Mr. Putin’s tolerance of dissent on trial. Several opposition figures were detained outside the courtroom while protesting in support of the women.
Members of female punk band Pussy Riot sit behind bars before a court hearing in Moscow
A masked demonstrator attends a demonstration in support of the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, whose members face prison for a stunt against President Vladimir Putin, outside Russia’s embassy in Berlin, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. The three female band members have been in jail for more than five months because of an anti-Putin prank in Moscow’s main cathedral. A judge is due to rule on their case Friday.
The women have support abroad, where their case has been taken up by a long list of celebrities including Madonna, Paul McCartney and Sting, but polls show few Russians sympathise with them.
Judge Marina Syrova found the women guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, describing them as blasphemers who had deliberately offended Russian Orthodox believers by storming the altar of Moscow’s main cathedral in February to belt out a song deriding Mr. Putin.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Marina Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, stood watching in handcuffs in a glass courtroom cage.
The women say they were protesting against Mr. Putin’s close ties with the church when they burst onto the altar in Moscow’s golden domed Christ the Saviour Cathedral wearing bright ski masks, tights and short skirts. State prosecutors had requested a three-year jail term.
“Tolokonnikova, Samutsevich and Alyokhina committed an act of hooliganism, a gross violation of public order showing obvious disrespect for society,” the judge said.
“The girls’ actions were sacrilegious, blasphemous and broke the church’s rules.”
Though few Russians have much sympathy for the women, Mr. Putin’s opponents portray the trial as part of a wider crackdown by the former KGB spy to crush their protest movement.
Foreign stars have campaigned for the trio’s release, and Washington says the case is politically motivated. Madonna performed in Moscow with “PUSSY RIOT” painted on her back.
“As in most politically motivated cases, this court is not in line with the law, common sense or mercy,” veteran human rights campaigner Lyudmila Alexeyeva said.
But Valentina Ivanova, 60, a retired doctor, said outside the courtroom before the verdict was delivered: “What they did showed disrespect towards everything, and towards believers first of all.”
“Let them get three years in jail; they need to wise up.”
The trial has divided Russia’s mainly Orthodox Christian society, with many backing the authorities’ demands for severe punishment, but others saying the women deserved clemency.
Mr. Putin, who returned to the presidency for a third term in May after a four-year spell as prime minister, has said the women did “nothing good” but should not be judged too harshly.
Witnesses saw at least 24 people detained by police in scuffles or for unfurling banners or donning balaclavas in support of Pussy Riot outside the courtroom. Among those detained were Sergei Udaltsov, a leftist opposition leader, and Garry Kasparov, the chess great and vehement Putin critic.
“Shame on (Russian Orthodox Patriarch) Kirill, shame on Putin,” Mr. Udaltsov said before he was detained.
“A disgraceful political reprisal is underway on the part of the authorities. … If we swallow this injustice they can come for any one of us tomorrow.”
The crowd of about 2,000 people outside the court was dominated by Pussy Riot supporters but also included some nationalists and religious believers demanding a tough sentence.
“Evil must be punished,” said Maria Butilno, 60, who held an icon and said Pussy Riot had insulted the faithful.
An opinion poll of Russians released by the independent Levada research group on Friday showed only 6 per cent had sympathy with the women, 51 per cent said they found nothing good about them or felt irritation or hostility, and the rest were unable to say or were indifferent.
“The girls went too far, but they should be fined and released,” said Alexei, a 30-year-old engineer on a Moscow street near the court. He declined to give his family name.
Ms. Tolokonnikova, Ms. Alyokhina and Ms. Samutsevich are educated, middle-class Russians who say their protest was intended to highlight close ties between the Russian Orthodox Church and Mr. Putin, not to offend believers.
The charges against Pussy Riot raised concern abroad about freedom of speech in Russia two decades after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Protests in support of the group were planned on Friday in cities from Sydney to Paris, and New York to London. A crowd of several hundred gathered in a New York hotel late on Thursday to hear actress Chloe Sevigny and others read from letters, lyrics and court statements by the detained women.
In Kiev, a bare-chested feminist activist took a chainsaw to a wooden cross bearing a the figure of Christ in the centre of the city. In Bulgaria, sympathisers put Pussy Riot-style masks on statues at a Soviet Army monument.
Protest leaders say Mr. Putin will not relax pressure on opponents in his new six-year term. In moves seen by the opposition as a crackdown, parliament has rushed through laws increasing fines for protesters, tightening controls on the Internet, which is used to arrange protests, and imposing stricter rules on defamation.
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MOSCOW, July 20 (Reuters) – Three members of female punk group Pussy Riot who derided President Vladimir Putin in a protest in Moscow’s main cathedral had their spell in jail extended by six months on Friday in what their lawyers called a show trial dictated by the Kremlin.
The women, who have been held in pre-trial custody for almost five months, face up to seven years in jail on charges of hooliganism for storming the altar in multi-coloured masks to sing a “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary to “Throw Putin Out!”
Pussy Riot’s brazen act was part of a protest movement against Putin’s 12-year dominance of Russia that at its peak saw 100,000 people take part in winter demonstrations in Moscow.
The Feb. 21 protest, which offended many believers in the mainly Orthodox Christian country, exposed deep divisions over the church leadership’s backing for Putin and the scale of punishment faced by the women, two of whom have young children.
Defence lawyer Mark Feigin said the court’s acquiescence to a prosecution request to hold Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich until Jan. 13, 2013, showed Russian leaders had given orders for their conviction.
“Today’s decision only proves again that our role as defendants here is a pure formality,” Feigin told reporters after the hearing, which was closed to the media.
“There is a lot of evidence that the judge will disregard justice in favour of a pre-set instructions on how to rule, which have been handed down by the authorities. They want to find them guilty… to punish them with real jail time.
“It is not a process but a judicial reprisal,” he said.
Putin and the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, are among more than 30 people Feigin and his two colleagues want to call to testify as witnesses in the trial.
After the Pussy Riot performance, Kirill said the Church was “under attack by persecutors”. The patriarch has often praised Putin and in February likened his 12-year rule to a “miracle of God”.
Though neither the president nor the patriarch is likely to testify, defence lawyers said the request pointed to those they believe were pulling strings behind the scenes.
“They are trying to make it look like an attack on Russia by some dark powers. It is just a theatre of the absurd, not a real court,” said Nikolai Polozov, another defence lawyer.
Court spokeswoman Darya Lyakh said a date would be announced on Monday for the start of the high-profile trial, which has drawn comparisons to the jailing of former oil tycoon, billionaire and Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
The Pussy Riot hearing on Friday took place in the same Moscow where Khodorkovsky’s second trial took place.
Outside, Orthodox Church faithful mingled warily with Pussy Riot backers, some of whom wore T-shirts emblazoned with the band’s trademark brightly coloured balaclavas.
A church activist read Bible passages out loud, while one of the women’s supporters unfurled a banners “Throw Putin Out!”, raising chants of “Freedom, Freedom!” before he was detained.
“Believers’ feelings are not worth a prison sentence,” read another sign held aloft, before rain dispersed the crowd.
The three women’s arrest has drawn widespread outrage among human rights groups and opposition activists already fuming over the church’s backing of Putin in a presidential election he won in March. Amnesty International has urged Russia to free the trio, criticising the severity of the response by authorities.
“The authorities have again chosen to take the toughest measures against Pussy Riot,” said Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov. He added that this would “only provoke more outcry in society and provoke more support for the girls.”
But some Orthodox believers have called for tough punishment for an act they regard as blasphemous.
“I was really upset at what happened,” said Vadim Kvyatkovsky, a member of an Orthodox Christian youth group. “This was no act of art. If it was happening anywhere else, in the street, we could discuss that, but when it is in a cathedral then it just violates our freedoms.”
Half of Muscovites surveyed this month by the Levada Center, an independent pollster, said they had negative views about the prosecution of Pussy Riot members while 36 percent said they welcomed the criminal case.
Schatten über einem ohnehin nicht lupenreinen Wahlsieg: Nach der als unfair kritisierten Wahl von Wladimir Putin zum Kremlchef ist die Polizei erstmals seit Monaten wieder mit Härte vorgegangen und hat mindestens 550 Demonstranten festgenommen.
Zehntausende hatten am Montagabend in Moskau und St. Petersburg gegen die Rückkehr des 59-jährigen Ex-Geheimdienstchefs ins Präsidentenamt protestiert. Internationale Beobachter kritisierten die Wahl als ungerecht und unfair. In jedem dritten Wahllokal seien bei der Auszählung Unstimmigkeiten festgestellt worden, teilte die Organisation für Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa (OSZE) mit.
Bei den Protesten in der Hauptstadt wurde der bekannte Blogger Alexej Nawalny, der in Oppositionskreisen als möglicher künftiger Präsidentschaftskandidat gehandelt wird, ebenso abgeführt wie der Linkspolitiker Sergej Udalzow.
Putin wird im Mai nach 2000 und 2004 zum dritten Mal in den Kreml als Präsident einziehen.
Shadows over Putin’s election victory: After the election has been criticized as unfair, the police acted with hardness and arrested at least 550 demonstrators.
Tens of thousands protested on Monday evening in Moscow and St. Petersburg against the return of the 59-year-old ex-secret service boss as president. International observers criticized the election as unjust and unfair. In every third polling station during the counting discrepancies were found, said the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
At the protests the famous blogger Alexei Nawalny, which is traded in opposition circles as a possible future presidential candidate, was also removed as the leftist Sergei Udaltsov.
In May, Putin will move the third time into Kremlin.
They did it. Conservative lawmakers in Saint Petersburg just passed the notorious „propaganda“ law to silence any reading, writing, speech or debate on anything „gay.“
The goal? To make LGBT people disappear.
But the fight is far from over. The bill won’t become law until it’s signed by the Governor. St. Petersburg is one of Russia’s number one tourist destinations. That’s why an international storm of bad publicity will force the Governor to think twice about the cost of signing this bill.
We have less than a week to act: tell the Governor of St. Petersburg that a city that muzzles artists, writers, musicians, citizens and visitors isn’t a city you plan to visit.
Conservatives in St. Petersburg passed this „gay gag rule“ despite condemnation from world leaders – and even the country’s own international treaty obligations respecting freedom of expression. But at the same time, Russian leaders recently announced that they want to invest $11 billion dollars to build their international reputation and attract tourists from around the world. St. Petersburg, Russia’s cosmopolitan „window to the west“ is key to that strategy.
But they can’t have it both ways – a thriving tourist economy can’t coexist with a new law that will muzzle artists, writers, musicians and regular citizens who live in – or visit – the city.
Pussy Riot- The revolution should be done by women
Wenige Tage vor der Präsidentschaftswahl in Russland sind die Mitglieder der feministischen Punkband „Pussy Riot“ unsere „sœurs préférées“. Die aufsehenerregenden Auftritte der russischen riot grrls, die z.B. am roten Platz und in der Erlöser-Kathedrale in Moskau stattfanden, sind allesamt illegal und werden meist nach wenigen Minuten von Polizei oder anderen Sicherheitskräften beendet. Die Frauen verorten sich selber zwischen Anarchismus und linkem Liberalismus und protestieren mit ihrer Kunst gegen Wladimir Putin, für Demokratie, Feminismus und eine lebendige Zivilgesellschaft. Sie sehen sich in der Tradition der Riot Grrrls und fordern in einem Interview mit „The Guardian“ :
„The revolution should be done by women. For now, they don’t beat us or jail us as much. There’s a deep tradition in Russia of gender and revolution – we’ve had amazing women revolutionaries.“
Ihre Outfits (bunte Minikleider, Strumphosen und Sturmhauben) sind von Comic-Superhelden inspiriert und dienen gleichzeitig dem Schutz ihrer Identität. In einem Interview mit der russischen Zeitung Gazeta antworten sie auf die Frage nach Produzenten und Sponsoren mit einem Liedtext von „padla bear outfit“: „Mein PR-Manager Karl Marx und mein Produzent Lion Feuchtwanger…“.
Auch wenn der Sieger der Wahl am Sonntag bereits fest zu stehen scheint, wünschen wir Pussy Riot viel Erfolg. In diesem Sinne:
„Eine Kolonne Aufständischer marschiert zum Kreml, in den Büros der Geheimdienstler explodieren die Fenster. Hinter den roten Mauern pissen die Schlampen. Riot rufen die Abtreibung des Systems aus. Aufruhr in Russland – Putin pisst sich in die Hose.“
(Song von Pussy Riot)
Hier ein sehr interessantes Video von BBC über Pussy Riot und die Präsidentschaftswahl.
Im Guardian ist außerdem ein guter Artikel erschienen, der die Band in die Tradition der Riot Grrrls einordnet.
A few days before the presidential elections in Russia the members of the feminist punk band „Pussy Riot“ are our “sœurs préférées”. The spectacular performances of these Russian Riot Grrls, for example, on Red Square and the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, are all illegal and usually ended within minutes by police or other security forces. The women locate themselves between anarchism and left liberalism and protest against Vladimir Putin, for democracy, feminism and a thriving civil society. They see themselves in the tradition of the Riot Grrrls and demand in an interview with „The Guardian„:
“The revolution should be done by women. For now, they don’t beat us or jail us as much. There’s a deep tradition in Russia of gender and revolution – we’ve had amazing women revolutionaries.”
Their outfits (colored mini dresses, tights and Storm hoods) are inspired by comic book super heroes, and also serve to protect their identity. In an interview with Russian newspaper Gazeta, they answer to the question of producers and sponsors with a lyric from „padla bear outfit“: „My PR manager Karl Marx and my producer Lion Feuchtwanger …“.
Although the winner of the election on Sunday already seems to stand firm, we wish pussy Riot much success. With this in mind:
Go to the Kremlin – the rebellious colonies
In the FSB (Federal Security Service) offices
Windows explode. Females for red walls
Riot announces Abortion System!
Attack at dawn? I would not mind…
For our freedom and yours, a whip to punish.
Revolt in Russia – the charisma of protest
Riot in Russia – Putin has pissed himself!
Song by Pussy Riot
Here is a very interesting video from BBC about Pussy Riot and the presidential election.
The Guardian also published a good article that drives the band in the tradition of the Riot Grrrls.
More information here and here
This morning, St. Petersburg legislators passed the 2nd reading of the outrageous „propaganda“ bill that will silence millions of Russian LGBT voices. Our friend Polina reports that we still have time to call our world leaders — the final vote will come next week. Call your foreign affairs office now, and spread the word HERE.
The Russian law to silence LGBT people is back — and we need to act now.
Lawmakers are about to vote on bill that will make it illegal for any person to write a book, publish an article or speak in public about being gay, lesbian, bi or transgender. And this is just the beginning – if the law passes in St. Petersburg, officials have threatened to take it nationwide.
Activists in St. Petersburg are rushing to organize a public protest against the bill, but no matter where you are, you can stand with them. Join this call to leaders around the world to reach out to their counterparts in the Russian government – and ask them to reject this discriminatory and anti-democratic law.
A law which outlaws „homosexual propaganda“ has been approved by parliamentarians in St Petersburg – a move that has outraged rights activists in Russia and across the world.
„Propaganda“ is defined by the bill as „enticements, positive opinions and comments that promote non-traditional sexual and family relations to minors“. The MP behind it said the legislation would target „themed“ clubs for teenagers, and the spreading of information about homosexuality on social networks.
The law would ban the dissemination of information „which could cause damage to the health or moral and spiritual development of minors, including by inducing them to form warped perceptions that traditional and non-traditional married relations are equally socially acceptable“.
The party led by Russian President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin is pushing discriminatory legislation against lesbian, bi, gay and trans people that could eliminate their freedom to speak publicly and assemble.
Russia is a signatory to numerous international human rights treaties – including the European Convention on Human Rights. We call on you to urgently speak out and hold Russia accountable to its treaty obligations – and stand with LGBT Russians whose ability to speak for themselves is under attack.
Political leaders in St. Petersburg are about to vote on law that will make it illegal for any person to write a book, publish an article or speak in public about being gay, lesbian or transgender. The ruling party led by President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin could make millions of people invisible with the stroke of a pen.
Human rights defenders around the country are doing everything they can to stop it. They are risking their freedom to organize flashmobs and protests, but they are afraid that it won’t be enough.
Right now, the world needs to speak up and tell Russian authorities to drop the bill. Join this call to leaders around the world to reach out to their counterparts in the Russian government – and ask them to reject this discriminatory and anti-democratic law.