The New York Times Called Those Who Brought What Were Essentially Blasphemy Charges Against Pussy Riot “Victims”


A few months ago, I signed up to give automated monthly donations to Amnesty International when I was told about how appallingly small their donations from America were. It is because of their advocacy on issues like this one that they need the support of all people committed to the principle of secularism worldwide:

Three young women have been sentenced to two years by Russian authorities for allegedly performing a protest song in a cathedral as part of feminist punk group “Pussy Riot”.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Ekaterina Samutsevich were arrested in March 2012 and today found guilty of “hooliganism”.

Here is the performance they are going to jail for:

CNN has many more details.  Here (starting at 6:53) Dan Barker and Laurie Gaylor’s podcast Freethought Radio has information on some appalling New York Times Coverage which refers to a complaining churchman as a “victim”. Here was the New York Times coverage in question:

The three women have apologized, saying that they never intended to offend the church and that their “punk prayer” in February was intended as political criticism of Vladimir V. Putin, who was then running for president, and of Patriarch Kirill I, for supporting Mr. Putin.

But lawyers for victims in the case, including several people who work in the cathedral, have cast it entirely in religious terms, seizing on it as an opportunity to defend the church against perceived threats, including the heresy that they say pervades secular society, especially Russia’s liberal political opposition.

Here is what those “victimized” cathedral workers were saying in anticipation of the verdict that has now been rendered in their favor:

One victim, Pavel Zhelyezov, who works as an altar server in the cathedral, urged a tough sentence, saying it was needed to “defend the interests of all believing Orthodox Christians.”

“Our God-loving forefathers, who built churches and monasteries, did not do this just for prayer,” Mr. Zhelyezov said. “They put in their spiritual foundation, so that the Russian people, we and you, have immunity. So that we could stand, fight with our external enemies, our internal enemies.”

And another Orthodox leader who apparently is a “victim” in the broader sense had this to say:

“We’re going to rip them up and burn them,” said Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich, the white-bearded leader of one group, the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers. “Like in the Middle Ages.”

Read Ophelia Benson’s coverage of this story in the posts: Swear words in a church and Uncomfortable with activist women. Taslima Nasreen has also expressed her outrage. Here is photographic coverage of vibrant protests for Pussy Riot in Berlin.

Sign this petition to advocate for these women’s rights to freely criticize religion and their government according to their conscience in Russia. Facebook, tweet, and blog the story. Write your country’s elected representatives and/or state department and let them know how outrageous you think what Russia is doing is and that you want your country to condemn their crackdown on free speech. And please consider providing tangible monetary support to the general cause of human rights worldwide by donating to Amnesty International.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • smrnda

    “They put in their spiritual foundation, so that the Russian people, we and you, have immunity. So that we could stand, fight with our external enemies, our internal enemies.”

    This sounds like an assertion that the church acts as a kind of arbiter as to what is properly ‘decent and Russian’ and is supposed to stamp out dissent. Quite the anti-thesis of a free society.

  • Forbidden Snowflake

    Hey, those women should consider themselves lucky! In Biblical times rioting in a temple could get you crucified! (<–satire)

    • Forbidden Snowflake

      And just by calling it ‘hooliganism’, the state can’t change what the act actually was. It was a valid protest against the unhealthy intertwining of state and church (not just any church; the Russian Orthodox Church, of course), and the Church, by participating in it, has made itself a legitimate target to anyone protesting against the government.
      The Church has no business reaching into state affairs. By rioting against it they were indeed banishing the traders from their father’s house, so to speak.

  • Rempetis

    I think that the “Pussy riot” girls shouldn’t spend so much time in Jail for a political protest, if i was a judge i’d sentence them to a few days of community work.

    That said, i think that this issue is simply overused and is shown with a totally distorted perspective in the western media! It’s used as anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda. They have spinned it into something much bigger and much worse than what it actually is, personally i have my doubts that they’d have a much better chance of a more lenient sentence if their trial was in any other western nation. Today somehow this was presented as the biggest news story by many (most?) of the western media, for example: In the guardian it was THE top news story, but was it really that imporant? I seriously doubt it, especially when there are issues like this one are not only burried but revolting excuses like “they did it to protect themselves” are in the headline! In my opinion the pussy riot story was just too perfect for them not to use as propaganda, considering that it’s something a western audience can empathise with very easily, and they also have video material, interviews etc.

    • blindrobin

      While I do very much sympathise with the rock drillers at the mine and the general suppression of workers rights around the world the Pussy Riot ‘trial’ is actually a much bigger story. This seemingly minor event when seen in context is only the latest and uniquely very visible representation of a large and actively suppressed movement working to counter Putin’s neo-tsarist regime. I don’t have the time or inclination to write a long post but the implications of the social conditions underlying this trial are very far reaching inside and outside of Russia.

    • eric

      If I were a judge, I’d respond like this (warning, link is to an Onion article with obscene insults that Dan would likely ban if they were on his blog – and which I think he has every right to ban). Then I’d tell the prosecution’s lawyers they have to pay all defense fees for bringing the equivalent of a SLAPP suit.

    • blindrobin

      The judge had no say in the verdict, she is just an instrument of the state in politically sensitive matters. To quote an acquaintance of mine : “The word “judge” is applicable only in the sense in which it was used medieval inquisitors.” Original @ ourtx.com/issue-322/6929
      Putin sees the church as a necessary tool of the state and for the suppression of progressive values which run counter to more ‘traditional’ notions of social order. Putin also was/is afraid that if such actions go unpunished that the quite significant current of dissent to his regime will grow stronger. Criticisms of Putin and his state/church are to be put down hard. That there is some criticism from outside, is unimportant unless it is ‘official’ criticism from significant governments. That is not going to happen as there is no state in the world that is secure enough in it’s own position with regard to suppression of the expression of dissent that will stand up to Putin.

    • James

      I don’t normally do this but…

      I think that the “Pussy riot” girls shouldn’t spend so much time in Jail for a political protest, if i was a judge i’d sentence them to a few days of community work.

      What crime is it you’d find them guilty of? (I’m assuming you are actually finding them guilty before handing down a sentence?) Also, seeing as they’ve spent months in jail awaiting trial, would you agree that they’ve already received more punishment than “a few days of community work”?

      That said, i think that this issue is simply overused and is shown with a totally distorted perspective in the western media!

      Can you fill me in on what has been distorted about the reporting in western media? Have pertinent facts been kept from me? Have any of the details of what Pussy Riot did in the church been misreported (the video is widely available)?

      Please, help me see the undistorted perspective you have.

      It’s used as anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda. They have spinned it into something much bigger and much worse than what it actually is,

      It’s anti-Russian how? The people being locked up are Russians aren’t they? Was it “anti-American” when the media reported the police breaking up the #Occupy camps? Was it anti-Egyptian to report from Tahrir Square? Is it anti-Syrian to report from Aleppo?

      It’s anti-Putin how? Are the media are under-reporting the facts of what Pussy Riot did? Are they exaggerating what the verdict or sentence was? Maybe they’re reporting reality and reality causes people to have negative views of Putin, but that’s hardly propaganda (in the sense you seem to imply).

      personally i have my doubts that they’d have a much better chance of a more lenient sentence if their trial was in any other western nation.

      No you don’t.

      Seriously, you don’t. Go back and check on what has happened at G8 and G20 meetings in western countries for the last decade, or any of the Tea Party or Occupy protests/rallies. Then point me to a single instance of a modern western democracy locking up a group of people for singing a protest song. No violence, no destruction of property, just find me a case where a western country has handed down a comparable sentence for anything even remotely comparable to what Pussy Riot did.

      Today somehow this was presented as the biggest news story by many (most?) of the western media, for example: In the guardian it was THE top news story, but was it really that imporant? I seriously doubt it, especially when there are issues like this one are not only burried but revolting excuses like “they did it to protect themselves” are in the headline!

      The SA mine shootings happened yesterday, and they were top of the news agenda yesterday online and in the TV news I saw. It’s still up there as the second or third story for most media outlets I frequent. I’d hardly say it’s been “burried” (sic). The Pussy Riot story happened today.

      Nobody will always agree with all the decisions news organisations make about what to cover and in what order, but we all acknowledge that part of “the news” is what’s “new”. Tomorrow something else will be the top story. I can’t tell you if it will be more or less significant than today’s top story, but I’ll put money on it being newer.

      In my opinion the pussy riot story was just too perfect for them not to use as propaganda, considering that it’s something a western audience can empathise with very easily, and they also have video material, interviews etc.

      There’s video material of and interviews about the SA mine shootings too. Some of it is on the Guardian site actually, including video of the actual shootings. You should check it out…oh wait a minute, you linked to one of them. One of the 6 or more stories, videos or slideshows the guardian is currently carrying on the mine shootings.

      Tell me again how they’re burying the story?

    • Rempetis

      I don’t normally do this but…

      What don’t you normally do? Reply to people?

      What crime is it you’d find them guilty of?

      I’d find them guilty of tresspassing and disturbing the peace, probably. Haven’t read all the details.

      Seeing as they’ve spent months in jail awaiting trial, would you agree that they’ve already received more punishment than “a few days of community work”?

      Yes, the longer they spent in jail before i passed down the sentence the better it would be in my eyes. That’s your dream response from me isn’t it? :P Nah… They’d be free instead of being in prison for months, but i guess you knew that i would say that.

      Please, help me see the undistorted perspective you have.

      The Voina past has been well-kept outside the whole picture, which paints a different picture in the minds of Russians. If you add that to the perspective it becomes very easy to see how most of it is manufactured. You’ve got to hand it to those girls though, they’re geniuses at attracting a western audience, all the right elements are there. Maybe ending up in jail was an unexpected consenquence for them though.

      It’s anti-Russian how?

      It paints Russia as some evil “surely worse than us civilised westerners” regime.

      It’s anti-Putin how?

      That’s the guy behind that evil regime.

      Seriously, you don’t. Go back and check on what has happened at G8 and G20 meetings in western countries for the last decade, or any of the Tea Party or Occupy protests/rallies. Then point me to a single instance of a modern western democracy locking up a group of people for singing a protest song. No violence, no destruction of property, just find me a case where a western country has handed down a comparable sentence for anything even remotely comparable to what Pussy Riot did.

      In a G8 meeting they killed Carlo Giuliani, but we don’t want them dead, we want a trial huh? :P Yeah, i’ve got an answer which doesn’t exactly fit your criteria but i don’t really care: The 2011 riots in the UK, and the express trials that came soon after that. ( Here’s one result of that: link, two scoops of ice-cream=16 months ). Another interesting UK case where people can’t really speak their mind is the McLibel case, but ok they didn’t go to jail.

      Anyway, there’s A LOT that can be said about A LOT of western countries that wouldn’t exactly fit your criteria but would make them hypocrites when implying that this incident means that Putin’s Russia is a . I even have real-life friends who’ve fallen victims to the supposed “freedoms” of western societies.

      It’s still up there as the second or third story for most media outlets I frequent. I’d hardly say it’s been “burried” (sic).

      If it’s second or third in most of the media outlets that you frequent then i’m satisfied! In most of the media outlets i’ve seen it’s 5th or 6th, if it’s at all there. In the guardian it’s 5th now. Don’t worry though, it’s just 38 african people who died, it’s normal to forget about it quickly. Don’t forget they don’t have catchy songs or edited “live” performance videos.

    • Rempetis

      Correction: Putin’s Russia is a… “insert here bad thing”.

    • Rempetis

      Ah, wait, i remembered something, just have to mention it… Charlie Gilmore and the flag. There you go, a perfect example.

    • Albert Bakker

      Up front I am going to establish that I am being reasonable here because I would have given these criminals a less severe sentence than judge Syrova did. Don’t know what they actually did, but they must be guilty of something because they got people upset.

      That being said it is wrong to criticize this, because I know cases of injustices that are not in Russia.

      Besides you should not at all pay attention to this because here’s this example of a greater tragedy I found that I am pretending to be upset about now, and if you now continue to pay attention the former non-event that I don’t want you to pay attention to, this means you thereby give tacit approval to the latter, even though it will hurt you more than you’ll hurt my feelings doing so.

      If it is found that in the broader international community people sympathize with victims of state oppression and the subversion of justice in Russia following publication outside Russia, this means those victims engage in propaganda and manipulate minds and consequently everything negative said about Russia is a lie.

      If it is found that in the broader international community people sympathize with victims of state oppression and the subversion of justice in Russia, acting as some kind of instant Inquisition, then the mobilization of sympathy following the outpouring of indignation, propter hoc must have been the goal, meaning Russia was suckered into engaging in unwarranted oppression and corrupting it’s legal system by evil women of Pussy Riot, instead of voluntarily sending them to a Gulag for voicing their conscience inside a real church. Furthermore if the apparent victims can be shown to have some connection to some form of protest movement, this proves their devilish plan doubly.

      If in the UK a case could be found in which it is possible to argue for an unjust sentence, (please do follow the story of the innocent ice scoop man, it’s really relevant) this negates any and all claim to injustices and violations of human rights being done in Russia while it descends from authoritarianism into outright dictatorship with handwringing theocratic hopefuls.

      And we must also keep in mind that protesting against the Greek government is good whereas protesting against the Russian government is wrong. Especially when of all people a couple of assertive women upset religious people in a protest song.

    • Rempetis

      Don’t worry albert, when you grow up we can have a civil conversation about a topic. I’ll wait for you to grow up, i’m only 30-something now.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Don’t worry albert, when you grow up we can have a civil conversation about a topic. I’ll wait for you to grow up, i’m only 30-something now.

      Rempetis, telling Albert that he needs to grow up here is a needless and unproductive personal attack. Stick to the substance of the arguments. I will delete any future remarks which try to personalize this dispute instead of argue it on its merits.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Anyway, it seems that you don’t, but i do, and i don’t respond well to people speaking to me that way.

      Speaking to you how? He didn’t personalize anything or treat you abusively in any way. So you find his views hyperbolic and hard to take seriously. So what? That’s not treating you offensively. Obviously he is sensitized to what he sees as media bias against Russia. He’s allowed to argue for that viewpoint.

      If being disagreed with passionately is not your think, that’s your problem, but don’t bring it into the comments section of my blog. Just bring your counter-arguments and counter-passions.

    • Rempetis

      In a civil conversation most of someone’s answer to someone else isn’t ironic, maybe you disagree with that and you think that it can be. It’s your right to disagree, but it’s also my right to be offended.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      There is nothing inherently incivil about being ironic. He’s not outright sarcastic. Even were he, it is not justification to personalize and attack him. You can explain that you feel like you are being treated hostiley or someone is arguing in bad faith without becoming rude yourself. You can attempt to politely ask them to deal with you more straightforwardly and less antagonistically for the sake of productive discussion. There’s no need to jump to lashing out.

    • Rempetis

      You’re right, i could have dealt with him being rude to me in a better way. I’m sorry for that. That said, i still think that a civil conversation can’t happen with one side being “outright sarcastic” as you say.

    • James

      Ah, wait, i remembered something, just have to mention it… Charlie Gilmore and the flag. There you go, a perfect example.

      Perfect example? Nope.

      Mr Gilmour was charged with, and plead guilty to, violent disorder. Yes, he swung from the cenotaph waving a flag, but he was also pictured trying to set a fire at the doors of the Supreme court and throwing a bin at a car.

      Interestingly, all you have to do is google “Charlie Gilmour” and the third result is a piece in the Guardian arguing “Gilmour’s fate seems to be hugely disproportionate and unfair. He simply should not be imprisoned for crimes that hurt nobody.”

      Now I don’t doubt that the Daily Mail led outrage at the Cenotaph stunt contributed to the disproportionate sentence he was given (and it should go without saying how wrong that is), but no way are the two cases directly comparable. And even if they were, I think you’d find the Guardian in particular on the side of the angels in both.

    • Rempetis

      You got me there James, it wasn’t the perfect example, it was still a good example in my opinion though. Also, you somehow forgot all the rest of what i wrote, but who cares.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      You’re right, i could have dealt with him being rude to me in a better way. I’m sorry for that.

      Thanks for introspecting and seeing my point, I appreciate it.

      That said, i still think that a civil conversation can’t happen with one side being “outright sarcastic” as you say.

      I agree. I admit I’ve only been reading quickly for the main ideas and not seeing it as all sarcasm. So, let’s just put it this way: Albert, please make sure you are making your points without implying bad faith on the part of those who see the issue differently. I am interested in your perspective since it’s an uncommon one and would rather the discussion not crash because of interpersonal tensions.

      Please carry on, all.

    • Albert Bakker

      Oh I was not being sarcastic, at least not deliberately. I set out on collecting the arguments made by Rempetis throughout this thread to answer them. But then they all of the sudden seemed so self-defeating that I just added some logical implications, maybe added a bit of irony I’ll admit, and let it speak for itself. I kept in mind but did not use points brought up by him or her in comments in other blogs. To me this stuff he or she puts forward is just bordering on a conspiracy theory.
      There is constructive contrarianism, which can be very useful, but this isn’t it.

    • Rempetis

      Actually your understanding of what i wrote was totally off-base, and that’s evident by every point (and i do mean EVERY point) that you made in your sarcastic response. So, i didn’t really have any self-defeating arguments, you just failed to understand ALL of them and in my opinion you added nothing to the conversation. James on the other hand has a perfectly valid opinion with which i simply happen to disagree with and which he has expressed with a very nice tone towards me.

      Anyway, it seems that i’ll have to explain why you failed to understand me…

      Up front I am going to establish that I am being reasonable here because I would have given these criminals a less severe sentence than judge Syrova did. Don’t know what they actually did, but they must be guilty of something because they got people upset.

      I didn’t set out to establish that i was being reasonable. The new element of the day was the verdict, and i was just expressing my opinion on it. Also, i didn’t say that “i don’t know what they actually did” what i said was that i (actual quote) “haven’t read all the details”, and i’m sure that neither have you or anyone in this thread for that matter. All of us surely haven’t read enough details in order to make a judgement on it. Many Russians though do know the details, and do understand the context of everything about this case, but me (or you) do not! Sorry.

      That being said it is wrong to criticize this, because I know cases of injustices that are not in Russia.

      Besides you should not at all pay attention to this because here’s this example of a greater tragedy I found

      Never said any of those things, what i said was the western media (quoting myself) ” paints Russia as some evil “surely worse than us civilised westerners” regime” and also: “there’s A LOT that can be said about A LOT of western countries that wouldn’t exactly fit your criteria but would make them hypocrites when implying that this incident means that Putin’s Russia is a “insert here bad thing” “.

      that I am pretending to be upset about now, and if you now continue to pay attention the former non-event that I don’t want you to pay attention to, this means you thereby give tacit approval to the latter, even though it will hurt you more than you’ll hurt my feelings doing so.

      This part is simply offensive in my opinion.

      If it is found that in the broader international community people sympathize with victims of state oppression and the subversion of justice in Russia following publication outside Russia, this means those victims engage in propaganda and manipulate minds and consequently everything negative said about Russia is a lie.

      Never said such a thing.

      If it is found that in the broader international community people sympathize with victims of state oppression and the subversion of justice in Russia, acting as some kind of instant Inquisition, then the mobilization of sympathy following the outpouring of indignation, propter hoc must have been the goal, meaning Russia was suckered into engaging in unwarranted oppression and corrupting it’s legal system by evil women of Pussy Riot, instead of voluntarily sending them to a Gulag for voicing their conscience inside a real church. Furthermore if the apparent victims can be shown to have some connection to some form of protest movement, this proves their devilish plan doubly.

      Actually at this point i must clarify that my criticism was about the way that this case was presented, portrayed, highlighted etc by the western press, it was not AT ALL about how “evil Pussy Riot are” or whatever imaginary thing that Albert here seems to like to think.

      If in the UK a case could be found in which it is possible to argue for an unjust sentence, (please do follow the story of the innocent ice scoop man, it’s really relevant) this negates any and all claim to injustices and violations of human rights being done in Russia while it descends from authoritarianism into outright dictatorship with handwringing theocratic hopefuls.

      More things i never said.

      And we must also keep in mind that protesting against the Greek government is good whereas protesting against the Russian government is wrong. Especially when of all people a couple of assertive women upset religious people in a protest song.

      Yeeeeeeeeesssssss, finally this is something that i said (!), OR wait no. :(

  • lordshipmayhem

    The true victim here is Pussy Riot, for the crime of staging an anti-government protest – in other words, the exercise of free speech. Granted, it was at an event that the regular attendees felt should not be disturbed, but still, blasphemy? Please.

    Blasphemy’s victim is (in monotheistic terms, insert plural for polytheistic religions): the insulting of an invisible, impotent, non-existent figment of the imagination of the superstitious. In other words, blasphemy is a victimless crime.

  • http://anythingbuttheist.blogspot.com Bret

    I find it funny that you’re supporting a band whose name would not be allowed to be said on your blog :P

    • Forbidden Snowflake

      Huh? I thought Teh Policy forbade insults, not merely naughty words.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Forbidden Snowflake understands. Bret doesn’t.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Let me also clarify that if the government tried to put anyone in jail for calling another person stupid or an asshole on my blog, I would protest the government vigorously. The ways that governments should police speech as opposed to the ways that private organizations should must be very different. Governments should be far more restrained.

  • AsqJames

    “Our God-loving forefathers, who built churches and monasteries, did not do this just for prayer,” Mr. Zhelyezov said.

    Well that part is 100% correct. The Czars built those churches and monasteries for the clergy in return for the clergy’s support in keeping the people under control. Kind of ironic that the modern version of this anti-democratic collusion is exactly what Pussy Riot were protesting about.

  • eric

    Incidental question – does the Russian band name translate as “Riot of…” or “Riot for…?” Or is the original band name in English, with all its glorious (and sometimes annoying) vagueness?

    • Forbidden Snowflake

      Original band name is in English, and generally taken to mean “Riot of pussy”.

  • J. J. Ramsey

    That video made me wish that Babel Fish were real.

    Also, this bit from Wikipedia on “hooliganism“:

    In the Soviet Union the word khuligan was used to refer to scofflaws or political dissenters, “hooliganism” (rus. Хулига́нство) was listed as a criminal offense and used as a catch-all charge for prosecuting unapproved behavior. [emphasis added]

    Looks like some things haven’t changed much since the days of the Soviets.

  • F

    Someone should dump the NYT out the back of a C5 somewhere in Russia.

  • Rempetis

    Rempetis, telling Albert that he needs to grow up here is a needless and unproductive personal attack. Stick to the substance of the arguments. I will delete any future remarks which try to personalize this dispute instead of argue it on its merits.

    Is it? Do you find his answer to me productive even a little bit? Don’t you think that it’s OVERLY ironic and offensive?

    Anyway, it seems that you don’t, but i do, and i don’t respond well to people speaking to me that way.

    • F

      I don’t know. It seems to represent your positions, including your ‘Dear Muslima’ angle, rather well. And with less exclamation points.

  • jamessweet

    One victim, Pavel Zhelyezov, who works as an altar server in the cathedral

    Pavel Zhelyezov… PZ? heh…

    That said, i think that this issue is simply overused and is shown with a totally distorted perspective in the western media! It’s used as anti-Russian and anti-Putin propaganda.

    FWIW, on my Facebook feed, the only person who has even mentioned this is, uh, living in Russia. (She is pretty anti-Putin, though, so I guess that fits your narrative) It’s an insult to freethinking Russians to imply that you have to be a foreigner to condemn this terrible abuse of ecclesiastical authority!

  • AKAHorace

    What ever the rights of Pussy riot, they seem to me to be incredibly stupid by acting this way in a church.

    I would imagine that their actions have delegitimized opposition to Putin. Are there any Russians here who can comment ?

  • AKAHorace

    Yes, it is Daniel. But do you disagree with this particular
    article ?

    I am sorry, but your remarks are not ones that I would have expected from a philosopher.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      Er, yes, I do disagree with an article that implies Pussy Riot is lucky they didn’t get violent retaliation that it is strongly implied they would have deserved.

      Yes, I do disagree with the notion that governments should enforce the right of the pious to never be offended.

      Yes, I disagree with the whole system of mental subjugation by which peasants are exploited and kept in line through the church.

      And, yes, I disagree with racist publications in general.

      Sorry to disappoint you. I have no idea what your conception of a philosopher is such that it involves approving of the desire to jail people for protesting in churches for the sake of the pious and that it involves approval of publications that pander to racists and regressive neo-cons.

  • AKAHorace

    Daniel,

    -Taki’s mag publishes a wide variety of opinions. You would do well to read it.

    -calling a publication racist and not explaining what is wrong with a particular argument is like calling a publication heretical/atheist/communist and thinking that you have settled an argument. I did not realize that modern philosophers argued this way.

    -I don’t agree with any serious punishment for the Pussy riot girls. A few days in prison or a fine seems appropriate to me, just as you would get here in the west for disrupting a political meeting or church service. So yes, I think that the article was overly harsh on Pussy Riot.

    -More importantly though, if the article that I linked to is correct, the Pussy Riot’s actions were incredibly politically stupid. They are the equivalent of someone protesting US policy on abortion/gun control (or name your issue here) by wiping their ass on an original copy of the US constitution.

    Your cause maybe right, the reverence that Americans have for a 200 year old sheet of paper may be ridiculous, but you have damaged not helped your cause politically.

    -Given the damage that westerners have done to Russia since 91 by our irresponsible advocacy of free markets we ought to consider how much being outspoken on this issue helps or hinders the Pussy Riot and forces for liberalization in Russia.

  • lpetrich

    As to the Russian Orthodox Church associating itself with Vladimir Putin, didn’t they learn anything from the Communist experience? They associated themselves with the Tsars, and when the Communists took over, the Commies demonized them as the moral equivalent of drug dealers and ruthlessly suppressed them.

    • AKAHorace

      Ipetrich,

      you don’t think that Putin may be more like the Tsars than the Communists ? from the point of view of the Orthodox church anyway ?

  • AKAHorace
  • AKAHorace

    Another take on Pussy riot from the exile.

    http://nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/pussy-riot

    Is anyone reading this ?

  • AKAHorace

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