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Vladimir Putin and the Pussy Riot
Free speech has never been a strong suit for Russia. Even after their democratic reforms years ago, they only have a quasi-free speech system.
Russia's new president, the old Vladimir Putin, ex-KGB agent, still Beatle fan, seems to have a problem with Russia's female rock-punk band, Pussy Riot. Of all the people, Putin, who use to listen to The Beatles secretly in his room on the BBC and Radio Free America as a teen, surely would understand that rock music is free. Yet, when it comes to political elections, free speech in Russia was suspended.
Back in February, before the Russian presidential elections, Pussy Riot, wearing mini skirts and balaclavas seized the pulpit at the Christ The Savior Cathedral, yelling, " Mother Mary drive Putin away" many times as the danced in a cancan, high kicking style dance. Putin had three of them arrested and tossed in jail and charged with "performing a punk prayer" against himself and hooliganism. The three women, in their 20's and have children, were tossed in jail and have been there since. They still have not had a court hearing. They could get seven years in prison!
The first hearing happened last week and during it prosecutors asked the judge to keep the women in jail for another six months until trial. The defense asked they be released to take care of their kids.