Two opinion pieces from the Moscow Times about the Pussy Riot Verdict

The Moscow Times has two very good opinion pieces about the verdict against Pussy Riot last Friday. This very good one from Garry Kasparov (former World Chess Champion) is in contrast to the blog post I linked to yesterday about the verdict. Kasparov says:

Despite whispers of leniency, I never doubted that a conviction and prison term would result. Not because they violated anything in the Criminal Code, which, as of this writing, is still freely available on the Internet. No, Pussy Riot’s actions were hateful toward religion only in breaking the First Commandment of today’s Russia, “Thou shalt not take Putin’s name in vain.”

Yulia Latynina uses the verdict against the band to draw a contrast between the civil religion and idolatry of Partriarch Kirill and Vladimir Putin (Homo Orthodoxus – “Human Orthodoxy”) and the Christianity of genuine Russian Orthodoxy:

The Pussy Riot case is a useful case study to understand the religious views of a large segment of Russia’s Orthodox Christian community, a group I will call “Homo Orthodoxus.”

First, this belief holds that God does not forgive. A typical example: During a recent demonstration against Pussy Riot, an Orthodox activist screamed “God does not forgive, and to claim otherwise is blasphemy,” while beating a female supporter of the punk group. This unforgiving nature is such an important characteristic of God for the Homo Orthodoxus believers that they hold it in a category apart from the direct commandments of Christ.

Despite evidence of the presence of an oppressive police state in Russia night now, it’s great to see the presence of an articulate civil society in that country too.

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