Thursday, August 02, 2012

Russians are deeply divided over Pussy Riot trial

Russians have indeed split into two camps. The apologies the three young women made to all the believers whose feelings were insulted by their punk prayer that took place in the country's main cathedral did not cool down the wild passions around the case. In his interview to The Guardian, Father Vsevolod Chaplin said that the apologies did not change anything and blamed the West for attempting to divide Russian society.

There are few people left who feel indifferent towards Pussy Riot. A poll taken by the sociology research group Levada Center right before the beginning of the trial showed that over the last month the number of those who have not heard about the case has dropped by half. Currently, only about 21% of those polled have no knowledge of the case. The decision to broadcast the court hearings, which was unprecedented in Russian court history, was related primarily to the high profile of the trial.

Now the young women are charged with hooliganism. Such criminal charges can carry punishment of two to seven years in prison. Few people in either camp believe that they are being tried as hooligans. Of the Levada respondents, 32% believe that the women are being prosecuted for blasphemy and for insulting churchgoers' feelings, almost 13% believe that they are on trial for the calls to throw Putin away, and 6% think it is for both counts.
Read the rest here.

I would love to say that this was just the iron fisted hand of Putin at work. But it is more than that. Putin is crushing critics in the name of, and on behalf of, the Orthodox Church. And that is extremely disturbing.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Terrible betrayal of Orthodox teachings - the patriarch should bow before these women and acknowledge his guilt before them - whatever sin they have committed is our guilt in any case according the saints. The Russian Orthodox response ought to be in them mode of Fr Zosima, not Ivan the Terrible. Of course our history is rife with betrayals of the Faith.

Jon Marc said...

They blasphemed in a church - in the old days their heads would have been cut off. Jail time isn't so bad.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to learn what saint's teachings you believe indicate that a punishment is warranted?

Eurasleep said...

The should be forgiven, but still do some time for their actions. Forgiveness is a spiritual matter, while prison time is a civil/legal matter. Just because we're forgiven doesn't mean we're "off the hook" from the laws of the authority that God has placed over us.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised by these comments on an Orthodox blog.
You should be aware that this cathedral was destroyed by the Communists and reconstructed with donations from Orthodox people around the world including Russian Orthodox believers in the United States...now it is attacked again.
The video of the desecration makes me sick to my stomach. If this were a mosque, the media would be calling for a prison term.

Jason said...

Not being Russian, I have to ask:

Does anyone know whether or not the band's name "Pussy Riot" is as offensive there as it is here in the US?

I could definitely see this band being invited to perform at the next MTV music award show, or the Grammy's or something of that kind.

Eurasleep said...

Having lived in several countries and speaking several languages, I can say that non-native speakers of English rarely understand the power their use of vulgarities has on the ears of native speakers. For them it's just "edgy", "cool" and attention-getting. I regularly have to tolerate this from people when living abroad.

On another note, I was going to comment that the heavy- handed approach by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian government is undeniably in part due to the 75 years of purging of all aspects of religious life in that country, which all started with such leftist, anti-Christian behavior, and which was allowed to careen out of control. Americans have never lived through such a thing and can't put themselves in the Russians' shoes.

Anaxagoras said...

During his first Pascha service as Bishop of Sasima in Cappadocia, Saint Gregory the Theologian's congregation was assaulted by an Arian mob. They stoned him and the congregation and raided the sanctuary. Concerning what his reaction to them should be, he wrote:

"What happened was terrible. Our altars were destroyed, our vessels were desecrated. It is important to obtain penances for those who have wronged us. But it is far better and more God-like to bear with injuries. The former course curbs wickedness, the latter makes men good".

Anaxagoras said...

On the other hand, we have the example of Saint Nicholas slapping Arius. It seems there is precedent for both approaches in Church history.

ProPravoslavie said...

There is another aspect that the Western media is refusing to report: it is that much of the delay in the trial were due, not to Putin, but to the stalling tactics of the defense lawyers. It is they -- not Putin, not the state, not the Russian Orthodox Church -- who are to blame for the prolonged detention of the three.

There is an interesting discussion about the little-known aspects of the case here:

http://darussophile.com/2012/07/29/the-guardians-pussy-worship/

And, John, what makes you think that the Western media is reporting this matter correctly?

Anonymous said...

eurosleep - you are right about the historical context, but that does not mean it is not a betrayal of our faith.

pp - I am guessing you are not Russian, don't speak Russian, and are a convert? Am I correct on all counts?

Michael said...

@Eurasleep: "And, John, what makes you think that the Western media is reporting this matter correctly?"

The answer is, that they are probably not.

Walter Russell mead has a good post on the MSM coverage of the Tea Party here:

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/08/03/tea-party-1-ows-0/#comments

Take home quotes:

"But perhaps the contrast of Tea Party staying power and the genuinely total and ignominious collapse of OWS can serve as a teachable moment for mainstream media editors and reporters who actually want to understand and fairly report the news, as opposed to manipulating it in the interest of a political agenda. (Readers take note: there are such.)"

"To survive and thrive, the MSM needs to tweak its business models, but even more importantly it needs to reset its intellectual models. They don’t work. They are outdated."

I understand that John is a member of the MSM. If so, then, John, please listen to Mead, and redouble your efforts to stay out of MSM groupthink.