Putin Goofed on Pussy Riot
Russia's president is inviting 'war and blood': journalist
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2012 3:45 PM CDT
Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members, from left, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass cage at a court room in Moscow, Russia on Friday, Aug. 17, 2012.    (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

(Newser) – The 2-year prison sentence given to Russian punk band Pussy Riot yesterday has sparked angry commentary from Western observers. Among the reactions:

  • Voices in the ruling United Russia party called for moderation in the sentencing, which means "Russia will not become a totalitarian regime again," notes Uwe Klussmen at Der Spiegel. But "by turning basically harmless artists into criminals, the regime has transformed the trial against Pussy Riot into a political time bomb." He quotes a Moscow journalist who predicts that "it will lead to revolution and to war and blood."
  • At Daily Beast, Masha Gessen sees a resemblance to the Salem witch trials. The sentencing judge said a member of Pussy Riot has a "mixed personality disorder" that includes "stubbornness and a tendency to insist categorically on her own opinion as well as a tendency toward oppositional forms of behavior." Writes Gessen: "Sound awkward in English? That’s because it’s not just from a different world but from a different era."
  • The "stark" human rights drama of Soviet times has morphed into a situation that's "harder to figure out, often making it easier for outsiders simply to give the government a pass," writes Rachel Denber at CNN. But under Vladimir Putin, critics have been silenced or murdered; now Pussy Riot has shown us how Russia works. "What we really should be wondering isn't why Pussy Riot is so distinctive, but whether it's just the tip of the iceberg."

 

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