Putin frees Pussy Riot in Sochi Games schmooze

By Cathy Kristofferson, December 19, 2013

In an act claimed to have nothing to do with who is currently behind bars, nor the upcoming Sochi Olympic Games, or Russia’s abysmal human rights record, Vladimir Putin and his Duma yesterday suddenly decided to create a new law that will allow for the pardon of those currently imprisoned for offenses amounting to basically opposing Putin.

The Associated Press is reporting that those “who haven’t committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children” are being granted amnesty from their current imprisonment.

pussyriot
Photo courtesy RT.COM

Among the estimated 25,000 happy recipients of early release are Pussy Riot. The two remaining imprisoned members were due to be released in March one month after the Games. No idea yet if the one member who escaped arrest can now return. The three imprisoned were sentenced to hard labor and two later sent off out of sight to Siberia. Their crime was protesting Putin’s regime by singing “Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away” inside a cathedral.

OBLOGDEE reported on their original arrest here.

Also to be pardoned is Putin’s high profile adversary oil-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky who has been imprisoned for more than a decade. He has been convicted of two separate “economic crimes” with a more due at a third trial rumored to basically just keep him behind bars.

Photo courtesy GETTY
Photo courtesy GETTY

A last minute amendment added yesterday by the Duma – “suspects of hooliganism who are still awaiting trial” – allows for the release of the Greenpeace activists, known as the “Artic 30”, being held for protesting against Putin’s Arctic oil drilling. They had originally been accused of ‘piracy’ back in September a much more serious crime that carries a 10 year minimum. The charges were lowered to hooliganism in October. The are currently out on bail set to be freed on Monday.

But who’s kidding who? We are all happy these folks have been freed. But the world must stay vigilant against Putin and not allow this prettying-up to change anything. Many less well-known dissidents remain imprisoned in Russia. Putin is still trying to pry countries away from their European Union leanings allowing them to escape the human rights improvements required for membership. Putin’s ongoing anti-gay crackdown, along with all of the human rights abuses, will still occur and likely more severely once the cameras have left post-Sochi.

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4 thoughts on “Putin frees Pussy Riot in Sochi Games schmooze

  1. Even if for nefarious reasons, I am extremely thankful that Pussy Riot members and others who have been subjected to Putin’s unjust and ruthless reign of terror will be released from their incarceration (captivity) in horrendous conditions.

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