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Russian PM: Release Pussy Riot
Laurie Tuffrey , September 13th, 2012 06:46

Dmitry Medvedev: "a suspended sentence would be sufficient"

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has spoken out against the imprisonment of punk band Pussy Riot, calling for the female trio to be set free, report the Associated Press.

With their case coming up for appeal on October 1, support from the Russian PM suggests the band's release may be fast approaching.

“In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody,” stated Medvedev in Penza during a televised meeting with members of the United Russia party.

The band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were sentenced to two years' imprisonment in August after performing an anti-Putin 'punk prayer' in March.

IC
Sep 13, 2012 8:12pm

It's tempting to see this as the right hand pretending to push back against the left hand to create the illusion of a democratic and free willed tussle (although I don't think the Left Hand actually called publicly for the band's gaoling but the Left Hand tends not to speak its mind publicly, apparently knowing in advance that dark deeds just tend to happen in dark corners in Russia(the blowing up of 2 Moscow apartment blocks to reignite the Chechen war in 99 and the assassination of Politkovskaya for 2 examples) through which its goals meet their ends.
And yet the BBC ran a short series on Putin recently which unequivocally showed Medvedev being, whilst certainly not a man completely free to do as he wished, certainly a man of very different impulses to The Left Hand and one who has challenged its authoritarianism on several occasions. Unlike the Left Hand, which appears to be an authoritarian psychopath of no fixed plan, the Right Hand is a liberal-capitalist reformer.
So there is the chance that what has happened is that Medvedev has had enough of the humiliating international publicity this episode has brought for a Russia he is trying to neoliberalise with an aggressive capitalist programme. Investors being, as they are, notoriously flighty from any form of authoritarianism which threatens unhampered business activity, it seems he may well have said 'enough is enough' and finally been allowed to pitch in and bring the circus to an end now that the Left Hand has scored its victory of sorts and taught these slightly disrespectful terrorists a lesson. Everyone happy.Point proved.

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