The Madeleine Brand Show for August 17, 2012

Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in Russian prison

RUSSIA-POLITICS-MUSIC-RIGHTS-COURT

-/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the all-girl punk band 'Pussy Riot' Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (R), Maria Alyokhina (L) and Yekaterina Samutsevich sit in a glass-walled cage after being sentenced in Moscow on Agust 17, 2012.

Members of the the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, were sentenced to two years in prison. They were convicted of of hooliganism, connected to “religious hatred.”

The conviction comes after the all female group staged a protest in Russia's largest Catholic
Orthodox Church last February.

They recorded a video in the church of their performance and synced it with a song criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and the lack of free speech in their country.

The group has drawn support from Paul McCartney, Bjork and Madonna among others. The court ruled that the band "crudely undermined social order." But supporters of Pussy Riot say that this is just a move by the Kremlin to stifle dissent.

“I think this is the first time that Russia has really shown that the current regime has really shown its true colors in such a blatant and crude way,” said Masha Gessen, author of "The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin".

According to Gessen, the reaction in Russia has been polarizing. The majority side with the regime but the strong reaction by the Kremlin has mobilized a vocal opposition.

Worldwide fans and supporters of the punk group have deemed August 17th Pussy Riot Global Day and are protesting the conviction all over the globe.

Guest:


Masha Gessen, author of "The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin" and a vocal critic of the Russian leader.


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