Pussy Riot Can Rock Kremlin To Its Foundations

By Gideon Rachman, Financial Times - August 21, 2012

Congratulations Vladimir Putin. Just four months back in the Kremlin and you have inflicted the worst blow to Russia’s international image in more than a decade.


Few can doubt that the Kremlin had a hand in the decision to sentence Pussy Riot to two years in prison. The punishment is grossly disproportionate to the band’s “crime” – singing a raucous anti-Putin ditty in a Moscow cathedral.

Still, professional Russia watchers know that there have been far worse human rights violations in the Putin years. The difference is that Sergei Magnitsky, a murdered lawyer, Anna Politkovskaya, a murdered journalist, and even Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a jailed oligarch, have never really become household names in the outside world. Pussy Riot members, by contrast, are all set to become global celebrities.

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