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Russia: Pussy Riot's Guilty Verdict

Russian and anglophone Twitter users responded to the guilty verdict and two-year prison sentence handed down to Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich on August 17, 2012.

The women were arrested last March after a February performance inside Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior, just before Vladimir Putin retook the Russian Presidency amid charges of election fraud.

Russia's Pussy Riot found guilty, Moscow, 17 August 2012 by Maria Pleshkova, copyright © Demotix.

Russia's Pussy Riot found guilty, Moscow, 17 August 2012 by Maria Pleshkova, copyright © Demotix.

Setting the stage

It took the judge several hours to read out the guilty verdict fully, before announcing the two-year sentence. Prosecutors had requested as many as seven years in prison for the women, two of whom are mothers to small children.

Journalist and former New York Times Moscow Bureau Chief Glenn Kates tweeted:

@gkates: Great, great photos by @hegtor of #pussyriot before this incredibly long reading began. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=450091

Specialist in Russian politics, Francesca Mereu tweeted:

 ‏@francescamereu:  The theater of absurd:three beautiful young women handcuffed like criminals; judge reading swear words #freepussyriot

Radio Freedom (Радио Свобода) tweeted a link to an article highlighting the now global awareness about the trial [ru]:

‏ @SvobodaRadio: Полсотни городов мира – для Pussy Riot http://goo.gl/nVivO

‏ @SvobodaRadio [ru]: 50 cities of the world – for Pussy Riot http://t.co/WBJHlpWb

Verdict announced

Blogger and activist Alexey Navalny reported that music heard during the reading of the verdict originated somewhere outside on the street, but succeeded in reaching the inside the courtroom. Some Twitter users observed that the three defendants began smiling.

‏@navalny:В зале заиграла песня PR. С улицы, но очень громко.

‏@navalny [ru]: In the hall, a [Pussy Riot] was played. From outside, but very loudly.

A Twitter account representing the anglophone ‘Free Pussy Riot’ LiveJournal blog added to its regular courtroom updates a note about the music:

‏@Eng_Pussy_Riot: In the courtroom song of #PussyRiot is playing. From the street, but very loud. #Freepussyriot

Mental health issues

The Guardian's Moscow correspondent, Miriam Elder, provided live updates throughout the reading of the verdict:

@MiriamElder: We're now talking about the women's psychological health. Have entered hour three.

Denis Parfenov responded to debate about the defendants’ sanity:

‏@parfenov_:Dear #pussyriot's judge: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Krishnamurti @MiriamElder

Other twitter users detailed the judge's psychological assessment, highlighting choice absurdities:

‏@ioffeinmoscow: Psychological expertise determines Tolokonnikova has “partial personality disturbance,” bc “makes decisions based on personal experience.”

The sentence is read

‏@TelenL: Толоконниковой – 2 года, Самуцевич – 2 года, Алехина – 2 года. #Хамсуд.

‏@TelenL [ru]: Tolokonnikova – 2 years, Saumtsevich – 2 years, Alyokhina – 2 years. #verdict

Some microbloggers recalled a statement President Putin made at #London2012, where he expressed his hope that the women would not be “judged too harshly:”

‏@RusPoliceWatch: So Putin's “not too harshly” translates into two years in jail. #PussyRiot

Other Twitter users speculated about the trial's historical significance:

@ioffeinmoscow: The judge said one of the reasons for a “real sentence” was to “caution others.” And now you know. #PussyRiot

‏@ForeignPolicy: Pussy Riot: already the most politically influential punk rock group ever http://bit.ly/MVh8DL

Wisconsin-based Jacob Turk tried to remind readers that the Pussy Riot members are not the only Russians facing prosecution for political activism:

‏@randomdijit: Deserves a RT. Not all of Putin's “guests” are photogenic young women. And some get much worse than 2 years rferl.org/content/russ … @RFERL

Finally, an American expat living in Russia, Timothy Post, caustically observed that the duration of the sentence means that Pussy Riot could incite more controversy during the 2014 Sochi Olympic games:

‏@timothypost: So that means #PussyRiot will STILL be in jail during the #Sochi2014 Winter Olympics. Does NOBODY on Putin's team understand modern PR?!?!!

RuNet Echo coverage of the Pussy Riot trial and the social context surrounding the case can be found here and here.
  • Truth- Hurts

    It seem like there is no limit to the assault and insult the West is ready to orchestrate against Christianity and Christians… Please, for crying out loud hypos! IT IS NOT ABOUT these unruly girls sexual stimulations with frozen animals, or sex orgy at the museum, it is about abusing the a Holy Place. I know it is no longer fashionable to all you ‘mini-Lucifers’ that thought they have got it all to challenge God, but there are still those who still RESPECT GOD!
    We can only imagine the level of outrage if they had done same in a mosque, then you all will start to lecture us on how people should respect others feelings, or worse still if they had voiced their opinion against so-called ‘lgbt’, then hell will be letting loose..!
    Well, it is also good to draw parallel to the case of Julian Assange, a man watching his back for uncovering war crimes, then got framed up with some ridiculous case that he has never even been charged of…
    Any reasonable person living in those places ought to be worried that he or she could be next!
    If you all think that these girls should just run around behaving badly, and corrupting other young girls, causing public nuance and violence, then why did you all stand up when peaceful girls that was sitting on the ground was violently pepper sprayed by the US robotic police?
    Remember, don’t feed others what you’ll not eat!

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