10/11/2012, 00.00

Pussy Riot are separated, but vow protest will continue

Nina Achmatova
Appeal grants suspended sentence to one of the three activists. Confirmed the sentence of two years in a penal colony for the other two. The Church hopes that the freedom granted to one member will not lead to new blasphemous actions.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The Russian Orthodox Church has called for the parole granted to one of the three girls from Pussy Riot in the process of appeal on October 10, "not to be used for other blasphemous actions " and asked again " repentance "from the girls, according to Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov, head of the Synodal Department for Relations with the Police and the Army. But the three activists appear determined not to give in to what they have defined as the "intimidation" of the Patriarchate of Moscow. Fresh out of prison after 178 days of custody, Ekaterina Samutsevich said in an interview with CNN that "the protest will go on" and did not rule out the repetition of actions in sacred places.

Katia (her nickname) obtained the conditional due to the change of the defensive line, with which her new lawyers, taking out any reference to their political speeches, convinced the judges that she did not physically take part in the now famous anti-Putin performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. However, the sentences to two years' imprisonment for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" was upheld for the other two girls, Mary Aliokhina, 24, and Nadia Tolokonnikova, 22, held in a penal colony outside Moscow.

"Justice divides Russian Pussy Riot", report news agencies and newspapers and, according to some defense lawyers, such as Mark Feigin, this was precisely the aim of the Russian authorities: to break and weaken Pussy Riot, who in a few months have garnered international solidarity, making them the symbol of opposition to Putin's presidency.According to Feigin, Samutsevich received pressure from above to change her defensive line, in exchange for freedom. "It seems that we are dealing with a kind of political game that aims to divide" the members of the group, "forcing them to relate differently to the conviction," said the lawyer, who is active in the cause even outside the court.

This hypothesis of a forced 'schism' has failed to break the three girls, Nadia and Mary said they were "happy" for Katia's release, who in turn expressed "regret" for the confirmation of the sentence to the other two. All reiterated their innocence in court, saying they were willing to apologize to the faithful offended by their performance, but refusing to repent, as already asked on the eve of the hearing by the Moscow Patriarchate. "There was nothing anti-religious in our action - reiterated Tolokonnikova, considered the leader of the group - I am ready to apologize if I offended people, but repentance is 'impossible,' because it would mean that I would recognize that our action was directed against religion, which is not 'true'. Aliokhina also refused to back down saying: "Even if you send us to Siberia we will not be silent". "We're not even finished our protest," warned Katia speaking to CNN. "The situation in the country has worsened since we staged our performance in February - she added - this very trial against us is proof of that." 

Printable version
See also
Sokolovskij's conviction and the crime of atheism
18/05/2017 16:33
Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina is freed
Anti-Putin punk band divides Orthodox community
Pussy Riot case, Muslims invoke spiritual courts
Putin: founder of "New Russia"