Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Russia dismisses foreign criticism of Pussy Riot trial

Western governments have said the sentences handed down to the female band members were unreasonable. Russia's Foreign Ministry calls this criticism 'biased and politically charged.'

By Reuters / August 22, 2012

Policemen control hooded demonstrators during a protest in solidarity with the Russian punk bank Pussy Riot in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday. Russia denounced foreign criticism of the trial on Wednesday.

Alessandro Della Bella/AP/Keystone

Enlarge

Moskow

Russia denounced foreign criticism of the trial of punk band Pussy Riot as politically motivated on Wednesday and said there were "elements of a clash of civilisations" in Western condemnation.

Skip to next paragraph

Three members of the band were sentenced to two years' jail last week for "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred" when they performed a "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral, calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.

Right groups called for release

Western governments have said the sentences handed down to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were disproportionate. Rights groups and musicians have called for their release.

Critics of Putin, who returned to the presidency for a third term on May 7 after a four-year spell as prime minister, say the Pussy Riot case illustrated his lack of tolerance of dissent.

"The case ... has served only as an occasion for the latest wave of rushed, biased and politically charged evaluations," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

"It seems that what is important to certain human rights structures and media outlets is not so much the fate of these young women as the opportunity to create yet another scandal on anti-Russian grounds," Lukashevich said.

'Clash of civilizations'

He said the West must respect Russia's need to protect the "millions of Orthodox Christian believers and people of other faiths adhering to traditional concepts of morality" that he said had been offended by the protest.

"This situation, without a doubt, has elements of a clash of civilizations," the statement said.

"Many in the post-modern West forget about Europe's Christian roots and also do not want to respect the feelings of the followers of other faiths, thinking that religion limits democracy," Lukashevich said.

He said that international human rights conventions had established that "freedom of expression is not absolute" and stipulate that restrictions are needed to protect the security of nations and the well-being of their citizens.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!