Pussy Riot – What just happened, and why are they back in the News Feeds?

A still from today’s court proceedings

Today Moscow witnessed an appeal hearing for Pussy Riot – or tried to. The proceedings were halted less than five minutes into the trial (which you can watch in Russian here, or read English translation transcripts here) when group member Ekaterina Samutsevich announced that she would like to fire her attorneys, who she believes do not share her position.

When the judge tried to deny her request (somewhere around the 10 minute mark), Samutsevich persisted, crying out that she cannot stand trial without an attorney and, having effectively fired her attorneys, she was in court without representation. The judge pushed her to be more explicit about what constituted her “difference of opinion” with her lawyer, but the accused refused to elaborate. Having no other options, the trial was postponed until October 10.

According to a LiveJournal entry which sprung up moments later, Samutsevich has been looking for a new lawyer for some time, holding interviews in prison, so this cannot be dismissed as a whim. According to the friend and author of the post (what follows is our translation, only for the purposes of the blog. You can find the original text here:)

As for why Katya fired her attorneys, in court she said it was because she had a difference line of defense. What this means more concretely, I don’t know. In a letter she wrote some pretty harsh things, but then again, this was a personal letter, and no one can say what of that was intended for public debate.

Personal arguments aside, one reason may actually be The Principle. This weekend the Russian Orthodox Church released statements purportedly offering the girls clemency if they repent (or rather, as the church is not in the place to absolve matters of the court, it would be “strongly in support of clemency,” which looks good even when the law does not follow through.) This maneuver means the Church gets the satisfaction of a guilty verdict, the weight of the actual sentencing, AND the PR-boost for looking like it at least attempted to be merciful.  This boost matters too, as the Russian Duma looks at the possibility of “blasphemy laws,” legislature that would elevate the status of crimes against the religious organizations, enabling maximum sentences of three years for “insensitivity.”

Anyway, like most of the world watching right now, we are not sure what to say, other than that more will be revealed October 10, for the appeal 2.0.

In the meantime, even as this is published, Medvedev has announced his support for clemency. The plot thickens?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Moscow and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pussy Riot – What just happened, and why are they back in the News Feeds?

  1. Pingback: And then there were two: Pussy Riot member set free after “proving” she didn’t actually get to perform | Baibakov Art Projects

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s