Russian punk chicks Pussy Riot got hit with two years in the clink on hooliganism charges. I had predicted a lenient sentence of possibly three years. Many were afraid the girls were going to get seven, which has been cited by some alarmists as mandatory on Russian hooliganism statutes.
Bottom line is, while to an outside, non-Orthodox, non-Russian observer kind of severe to throw some kind of mousey looking girl-next-door types in the gulag for pulling a “hey, let’s try to shock the babushkas out of their bonnets and play a gig in church,” it’s really practically a slap on the wrist. One, they knew what they were getting themselves into. They had to. They played their protest “gig” at Christ the Savior Cathedral, practically on the doorstep of the Kremlin, where all the key religious ceremonies are held where the country’s chief heads of state, including the religious Putin and Medvedev, congregate. Sure, the girls got support outside of Russia. Stars like Sting and Madonna (not a Christian) supported them. But a small minority of Russians do. The vast majority of Russians wanted them punished. When in Russia, do as the Russians do. These chicks should have known better.
Apparently, they can still appeal the verdict within a matter of days from sentencing and they could be pardoned by Russia’s President, Tsar Vladimir Vladimirovich, who has said he hopes their punishment won’t be too great. The Orthodox Church has also said it won’t be too upset if the girls receive leniency, so still, at this juncture, anything could happen.
There are those who say that the Church and the State in this case overreacted and by judging too harshly created too much publicity for the group, but most of those voicing that opinion are outside of Russia.
Anyone who knows anything about Orthodoxy and has watched the video of the group’s performance inside the church knows that they knowingly offended church mores on so many fronts it’s a wonder they were not mauled to death by a mob of angry church babushkas on the spot. First, they performed what they called, a “punk moleben.” A moleben is a special prayer. It’s a sacred devotion. It should not be taken lightly nor in mockery. Strike one. Second, the girls performed in front of the holy doors. Strike number two. No girls allowed up there. Period. That rule has been in place for 2,000 years. Break it at your own peril. Number three, they did mock prostrations. I hope the guards and their prison buddies up in the gulag have them doing similar mock prostrations daily up there in Siberia. Bad taste, I know, but I couldn’t resist. The list goes on and on. These chicks knew what they were doing. They knew what they were up against and the perils of getting caught. If they had done this at a lesser Russian church somewhere further away from the Kremlin, it may have been been a little less publicity, but a little less gulag time. So, they get pay for what they get. Enjoy the vacation, devushki!