Pussy Riot: The Verdict

The punk protest band's trial reached its solemn conclusion today as protesters took to the streets in London

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Today Judge Marina Syrova announced the verdict of one of the most controversial trials of our generation: Russia’s political vanguard’s denunciation of Pussy Riots' freedom of speech. To no one’s surprise, but to most people’s dismay, the verdict was pronounced: guilty. Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich will each serve a two year jail sentence without any chance of a re-trial. Tolokonnikova’s lawyer, Mark Feygin, told the press: "The decision was taken not in the court but in the Kremlin by Putin," continuing, "We are going to appeal in Russia and abroad. My client said Putin can sod off with his pardon.”

It is like the Spanish inquisition, the only difference is that they are not tortured by fire and water, but it is all the same story

Campaigners for ‘Free Pussy Riot’ showed support for the band in over 50 cities around the world today with events ranging from protests to public readings – including one at the Royal Court which saw British actors deliver the women's testimony. Dazed Digital hit the streets of London and spent the day speaking to our local Pussy Riot champions as they canvassed in solidarity in-front of the Russian embassy.

Evgeny Legedin, street artist

Dazed Digital: What do you think of the Pussy Riot trial?
Evgeny Legedin:
It is like the Spanish inquisition, the only difference is that they are not tortured by fire and water, but it is all the same story.

DD: What do you think of the way Pussy Riot protested?
Evgeny Legedin:
It wasn’t blasphemy; they are Orthodox Christians themselves so it was a literal Punk Prayer to their Virgin Mary to get rid of Russian power. I see nothing wrong with it at all... it was against corrupted Putin and corrupted clergymen.

DD: What will happen now the trial is over?
Evgeny Legedin:
Eventually they will get freedom, not today, not tomorrow, not one year later, but eventually they will get out of prison. 

The authorities really shot themselves in the foot because none of us would have ever heard of any of this if they hadn’t arrested those girls, if they had given them an ASBO and sent them home

Yana, Jason Atomic, Manko

DD: What do you think of the Pussy trial?
Manko:
It has been absurd, I have been keeping an eye on the whole trial live on Twitter form the lawyers, and it has been amazing the stuff they came out with, especially in this day and age.
Yana:
There is a really Kafka-esque element too. The rhetoric of it is interesting how they have mixed the secular and the spiritual so some of it is modern and makes personal sense and then it sounds Medieval.
Jason Atomic:
It is like a witch hunt, like something out of the 15th Century! It is horrifically absurd – it would be funny if it wasn’t real.

DD: What do you think of the message? Were you were aware of it before the trial and the YouTube video?
Manko:
Not at all. It has been really good to learn about all their activism.
Jason Atomic:
The authorities really shot themselves in the foot because none of us would have ever heard of any of this if they hadn’t arrested any of those girls, if they had given them an ASBO and sent them home.
Yana:
Also, frankly, to be honest, if the girls weren’t so young and so attractive and wearing a fashion statement…
Manko:
…and had such a great name!
Yana:
…yes, we wouldn’t have heard of them. I’m sure it wasn’t a PR stunt but it was the most genius, involuntary PR stunt ever. None of us would have known about them if the authorities didn’t do what they’ve done.

DD: What’s next for the Free Pussy Riot collective?
Jason Atomic:
I can see it turning into something big, that’s the problem. If they send them to jail for a long time they will have created an amalgamation of Nelson Mandela and the Spice Girls and everyone will want to have parties to celebrate them. I don’t see it finishing anytime soon.

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