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Pussy Riot Trial: Words Are Not Trifles, Now or Ever

by Abby Zimet

Last week saw the end of the absurdist Pussy Riot trial, wherein the Russian punk collective was tried for "hooliganism" and inciting “religious hatred” for a 30-second “punk prayer” titled “Our Lady, Chase Putin Out!” - dubbed “devil’s pranks” by one devout prosecution witness - in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. In powerful, politically savvy closing statements, the women cited a long and honorable tradition of dissidents from Socrates to Dostoevsky to Solzhenitsyn, vowed their words would live on, and said the true verdict will be a verdict not on them, but on a repressive Putin regime. Full translated statements from Yekaterina Samutsevich and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. Verdict expected this week.

“I thought the church loves all its children, but it appears that the church only loves those who vote for Putin.”

Update: The mayor of Iceland's Reykjavik appeared in that city's gay pride parade dressed as a member of Pussy Riot, accompanied by one of their songs and a Free Pussy Riot banner.


Russian artist Petr Pavlensky has sewn his mouth together in support of the three women.