Now the women of "Pussy Riot" stand trial before a Russian tribunal trying to tie a protest against Putin by folding it into an argument about the sanctity of religion.
Prosecutors have asked the judge to jail the women for three years, arguing that they should be isolated from society after performing an anti-Putin punk prayer in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in February. They are accused of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.Yeah, the charge is a real "through the looking glass" re-branding of Stalinism. A movement has been created in Russia behind them, and their plight has obtained broad support across the world. And to their credit, they are not backing down:
"I hold no spite," Nadezhda Tolokonnikova wrote in a letter to supporters (in Russian) passed to one of her lawyers. "I have no private spite. But I have political spite.
"Our being in jail is a clear and distinct sign that freedom is being taken away from the whole country," she wrote. "And this threat of destruction of the liberating, emancipatory forces of Russia is what makes me angry."Within a few hours the women will learn their fate. The whole world is watching.
[cross-posted at Firedoglake]