We are simply praying and hoping that these young women and all these people shouting in front of the court building, committing sacrilegious acts not only in Russia but in other countries, realize that their acts are awful. And despite this the church is asking for mercy within the limits of law.Archpriest Maxim Kozlov • Making a backhanded plea of forgiveness to the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, who were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism” after they disrupted a Moscow cathedral with an anti-Vladimir Putin “punk prayer” back in March, weeks before his re-election. The Russian Orthodox church is a powerful force within everyday Russian life, political life even more so – said Tikhon Shevkunov, head of Moscow’s Sretensky Monastery (and believed by many to be a spiritual adviser to President Putin himself): ”We did forgive them from the very start. But such actions should be cut short by society and authorities.” So, in other words, we forgave you right away, but a nice two-year prison spell for uttering an unwelcome political opinion in our church sounds good? That, folks, is the very definition of cold comfort. source (via • follow)
How did it happen that our performance, which was a small and clumsy stunt, brought so much trouble? How can this happen in a healthy society? And now it takes thousands of people around the world to prove the obvious, to prove that the three of us are innocent.Maria Alekhina, member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot • Expressing disbelief that Pussy Riot’s decision to stage an anti-Putin protest on the alter of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral has created such an uproar. While Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a lenient sentencing by the court, some believe that his statements reveal a hidden presumption of guilt which they worry will be shared by jurors. In addition to Alekhina, co-defendants Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich stood by their decision to protest, and said they were more free behind bars than prosecutors who can “only say what political censorship allows.” A verdict is expected to be delivered on August 17. source (via • follow)
» Krymsk hit the hardest: The weekend’s flooding slammed the city so hard that some residents suggested water had been released from a nearby reservoir. While local officials denied this, Russian officials said that water had been released, though it didn’t cause the flooding. At least 139 people were found killed in the city, while another nine were from the resort town of Gelendzhik. Most of the victims were elderly, in a position where they couldn’t run away from the flooding. Russian President Vladimir Putin made a trip to the southern region of the country in the wake of the flooding, pressuring investigators to figure out how the deaths could have been prevented.
We agreed that we need to see a cessation of the violence, that a political process has to be created to prevent civil war.President Barack Obama • Following a two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin — the first since Putin’s return to the presidency — prior to the beginning of a G20 summit in Mexico. The two discussed a wide range of issues that their respective nations have clashed over in the past, including missile defense systems in Europe and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, with Putin telling reporters that, “From my perspective, we’ve been able to find many commonalities pertaining to all of those issues.” source (via • follow)
They rifled through everything, every wardrobe, in the toilet, in the refrigerator. They searched under the beds. Were they looking for our secrets?Russian Left Front party leader Sergei Udaltsov • Discussing the searches that Russian police did on both his home, and those of other opposition figures, on Monday morning. Political foes of Vladimir Putin, who protested heavily ahead of his election as president, are now finding themselves the subject of major crackdowns. Putin recently signed a law increasing fines for public street demonstrations, among other things. ”What we are witnessing today is in essence the year 1937,” said activist Yevgenia Chirikova. “It is an absolutely clear scenario in which the authorities scare the people.”