MOSCOW, August 21 (Itar-Tass) — Last week the court sentenced Pussy Riot punk band members to two years in prison. During the court trial many politicians supported the girls and urged the authorities to set them free. Meanwhile, opinion polls show that most Russians are on the side of the court.
The Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper cites data of the recent opinion poll by Levada-Centre, according to which Pussy Riot members enjoy respect of less than one percent of Russians. Twenty percent are indifferent to the hooligans, 17 percent of the polled people dislike them, 14 percent feel irritation or “cannot say anything good about them” at all. It is interesting, the newspaper notes, that statistical error of the poll is 3.4 percent, which means that “the group of support” does not go outside its boundaries. While “the conservative majority”, which experts believe is also the electoral majority, has already voted against Pussy Riot and its supporters.
Most respondents believe that the trial of the punk group was “just, unbiased and objective”. A total of 44 percent of the polled supported that point of view. Only 18 percent believed that the sentence would be passed “according to the order coming from the top”.
Political analyst Pavel Danilin, cited by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta, explains the conformity of the public opinion with the court decision by the fact that “the conservative majority is displeased with the intrusion of ideas insulting for the society”.
The attitude of the public to Pussy Riot’s project was manifested to the full when last Friday its fans put on multicolored balaclavas on some Moscow monuments as a sign of support. People passing by considered that action as insulting the memory of Great Patriotic War soldiers, detained one of the activists and handed him over to the police.
Representatives of the expert community concur that the sentence passed by the Khamovniki District Court was rather mild. Thus, the head of the coalition For Morality, Ivan Dyachenko, believes that “much more time is needed for the convicts to realize their mistake and show repentance”.
“A longer sentence term could have been passed, but the main thing is that their action has been acknowledged as a crime. If they had been justified, such actions aimed at discrediting the Church would have continued. They committed an immoral deed and must be punished by a real term of sentence, which has been passed. All the more that they have not demonstrated any real repentance,” political analyst Pavel Danilin, cited by the newspaper, agrees.
Associate professor of the political theory department at MGIMO University Yan Vaslavsky believes that the Russian opposition lives in a different reality which is far from the world-view of most Russians. The expert is confident that if one goes to any settlement outside Moscow and asks what Pussy Riot is, people simply won’t know what to say or their reaction will be extremely negative.
“Our society is rather conservative as to respect for traditions and values,” Vaslavsly says. For that reason, he believes that political forces supporting the punk group don’t have a slightest chance to increase their influence. “Support for Pussy Riot by the opposition will hardly raise their rating strategically speaking,” he stressed.