Chaos and confusion on the altar of the Russian capital's main Christ the Saviour Cathedral. Punk activist band, Pussy Riot are facing seven years in prison for these exploits: singing this expletive-filled, anti-Putin protest song asking the Virgin Mary to throw the President out. The Sisters desperately tried to stop the balaclava-clad band members. But the instant fame and notoriety for the Pussy Riot girls -- this video went viral worldwide - sparked anger in the Kremlin. For no sooner the video appeared than three members were arrested and jailed. Their actions outraged the religious establishment, with the Russian Orthodox Church accusing them of blasphemy.
Today, the ladies - all in their 20s, some of them mothers - charged with hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility - arrived in court in Moscow ready to apologise. Band member, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said from her courtroom cage: "We will be talking about how we accept our ethical misdemeanour, but an ethical misdemeanour should not be a cause of criminal punishment, and this is the sense of all this. That's the most important thing that everyone should understand, especially the injured party." In court, she said they would not plead guilty.
If convicted, critics have already joined their lawyers in arguing that a seven-year jail term would be grossly disproportionate. Many see their case as a test of how far the country's regime will try to stamp out dissent. And, any chances of Putin becoming more tolerant , are slim. Despite governments from around the world, human rights groups, musical celebs like Sting and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more than 100 prominent Russian actors and musicians all voicing their concerns over the trial and urging the girls' release. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has said it is up to the court to decide whether the women have committed a crime.
Published on Jul 30, 2012 by IBTimesUK