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The Russian creative elite comes out for Pussy Riot

June 27, 2012, 11:46 UTC+3
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Over 100 figures of culture and arts signed an address for the release and against criminal persecution of three members of the Pussy Riot punk band, who were brought to criminal responsibility for the so-called punk prayer at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral. On Tuesday several signees passed their address in the Russian Supreme Court and the Moscow City Court to the chairpersons of the courts. The signup campaign will continue at the website of the radio station Ekho Moskvy from Wednesday.

The Moskovsky Komsomolets daily published the text of the address, the authors of which recalled that on June 20 the Tagansky District Court of Moscow extended the term in arrest for members of the Pussy Riot band. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich are under arrest at the detention centre since last March. They are charged under an article for hooliganism that envisages up to seven years in prison.

The signees give different assessments to the moral and ethical aspect of the actions of the participants in the February escapade at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, but believe that the Pussy Riot actions are not a criminal offence. “Young women did not kill anybody, did not rob anybody, did not commit any violence and did not destroy and did not steal the property. Russia is a secular country, and no anti-clerical actions, if they do not entail punishment under articles of the Criminal Code, can be the reason for criminal persecution,” the address runs.

The authors of the address believe that the criminal case against Pussy Riot “discredits the Russian legal system and undermines trust to the institutes of power in general.” During this whole period of time the participants in the action are staying under arrest, the moods of intolerance are growing in the society that leads to its split and radicalization, they noted.

The signees do not see legal grounds and the practical sense for further isolation of young women from the society, as the latter do not pose any real threat. Moreover, two of them are young mothers. They voiced confidence that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich should be released from custody, their criminal case should be terminated or re-qualified from a criminal case in an administrative case.

Among the signees there are such outstanding personalities of the Russian creative intelligentsia as Oleg Basilashvili, Chulpan Khamatova, Sergei Yursky, Eldar Ryazanov, Yevgeny Mironov, Alexei German, Roman Viktyuk, Mark Zakharov, Pavel Chukhrai, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrei Zvyagintsev, Kirill Serebrennikov, Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Grigory Chkhartishvili (Boris Akunin), Sergei Shargunov, Dmitry Bykov, Boris Grebenshchikov, Andrei Makarevich and many others.

The Komsomolskaya Pravda daily recalled that an address to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill was posted in the Internet before. The authors of the letter levelled harsh criticism on Pussy Riot and the Orthodox Christians, who addressed to the patriarch to pardon the Pussy Riot members. 

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