Friday, 17 August 2012

Yekaterina Samutsevich closing statement at the Pussy Riot Trial

Following Tuesdays post, and  on the day  that members of Pussy Riot await theiir fate, when at 3 0'clock this afternoon, they will finally get their verdict and sentence, thought I'd qickly post this. Their  is all probability that they will not recieve  a not-guilty verdict, so the eyes of the world  will be on how long the jail sentences will be. The expectations are that they will get between one and three years.
They have been fortunate I guess because they have managed to garner much sympathetic international media attention, unlike many other prisoners of conscious across the globe. They have also attracted the support of many  celebrities and international organisations like amnesty, and many groups and individuals across the world, for a little noticed You Tube video of a political prank back in February, and have  certainly succeeded in  capturing our hearts and imagination too.

Pussy Riot video of  performance, that has garnished so much attention

The eyes of the world will now be watching what happens, does Putin and his allies want to be seen as confirming themselves as   draconian reactionaries. Personally I hope not, and that they will not be treated to harshly and that they will soon be free.
In an act of solidarity I am reprinting Yekaterina Samutsevich, one of the defendents closing statement at the Pussy Riot Trial.

Yekaterina Samutsevich's closing statement in the criminal case against the feminist punk group Pussy Riot.

During the closing statement, the defendant is expected tp repent or express regret for her deeds, or to enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as is the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary. Instead, I want to express my views about the causes of what happened with us.
The factthat Christ the Savir Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of our powers that be was already clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin's former (KGB) colleague Kirill Gunyaev took over as head of the Russian Orthodox Chrch. After this happened, Christ the SaviourCathedral began to be used as a flashy setting for the politics of the security services, which are the main source of power (in Russia).
Why did Putin feel the need to explain the Orthodox religion and its aesthetics? After all, he could have emplyed his own, far more secular tools of power - for example, national corporations, or his menacing police system, or his own obedient judiciary system. It may be that the tough, failed policies of Putin's government, the incident with the submarine Kursk, the bombings of civilians in broad daylight, and other unpleasant moments in his political career forced fim to ponder the fact that it was high time to resign, otherwise the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more convincing, transcendenal guarantees of his long tenure at the helm. It was here that the need arose to make use of the aesthetics of the Orthodox religion, historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia, where power came not from earthly manifestations such as democratic elections  and civil society, but from God himself.
How did he succeed in doing this? After all, we still have a secular state, and shouldn't any intersection of the religious and political spheres be dealt with severely by our vigilant and critically minded society? Here, apparently, tha authorities took advantage of a certain deficit of Orthodox aesthetics in Soviet times, when the Orthodox religion had the aura of a lost history, of something crushed and damaged by the Soviet totalitarian regime, and was thus an opposition culture. The authorities decided to appropriate this historical effect of loss and present ther new political project to restoore Russia's lost spiritual valus, a project which has little to do with a genuine concern for the preservation of Russian Orthodoxy's history and culture.
It was also fairly logical that the Russian Orthodox Church, which has long had a mystical connection with power, emerged as this project's principal executor in the media. Moreover it was also agreed that the Russian Orthodox Church, unlike the Soviet era, when the church opposed, above all, the crudeness of the authorities towards history itself, should also confront all baleful manifestations of contemporary mass culture, with its concept of diversity and tolerance.
Implementing this thourougly interesting political project has required considerable quantities of professional lighting and video wquipment, air time on national TV channels for hours-long live broadcasts, and numerous background shoots for morally and ethically edifying news stories, where in fact the Patriarch's well constructed speeches would be pronounced, helping the faithful make the right political choice during the election campaign, a difficult time for Putin. Moreover, all shooting has to take place continuously; the necessary images must sink into the memory and be constantly updated, to create the impression of something natural, constant and compulsary.
Our suddem musical appearance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with the song "other of God, Drive Putin Out" violated the integrity of this media image, generated and maintained by the authorities for so long, and revealed its falsity. In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch's blessing, to combine the visual image of Orthodox culture and protest culture, suggesting to smart people that Orthodox culture belongs only to the Russian Orthodox church, the Patriarch and Putin, that it might also take the side of civic rebellion and protest in Russia.
Perhaps such an unpleasant large-scale effect from our media intrusion into the cathedral was a surprise to the authorities themselves. First they tried to present our performance as the prank of heartless militant aethiests. But they made the blunder, since by this time we were already known as an ant-Putin feminist punk band that carried out their media raids on the country's major political symbols.
In the end, considering all the irreversible political and symbolic losses caused by our innocent creativity, the authoritis decided to protect the public from us and our nonconformist thinking. Thus ended our complicated punk adventure in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
I now have mixed feelings about this trial. On the one hand, we now expect a guilty verdict. Compared to the judicial machine, we are nobodies, and we have lost. On the other hand, we have won. Now the whole world sees the criminal case against us has been fabricated. The system cannot conceal the repressive nature of this trial. Once again, Russia looks different in the eyes of the world from the way Purin tries to present it at daily international meetings. All the steps toward a state governed by the rule of law that he promised have obviously not been made. And his statement that the court in our case will be objective and make a fair decision is another deception of the entire country and the international community. That is all, Thank you.

This was taken from Chtodelat News

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