Pussy Riot Found Guilty and Other Alarming News from Russia

Today saw a full-scale assault on self-expression in Russia.

First, in news that’s still breaking, members of Pussy Riot were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in prison. The three were arrested in March after they staged a guerrilla “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral, in which they pleaded with the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin. The arrests have drawn outrage from musicians and entertainers the world over, including Madonna, who spoke in support of Pussy Riot during a Moscow concert last week.

Reports are also coming in that, amid this morning’s protests in front of the courthouse, chess master and anti-Putin activist Garry Kasparov was roughed up and detained by Moscow police. He was last seen forced into a police van.

Also handed down today and just as appalling, an effort to strike down Moscow’s 100-year ban on gay parades was rejected, as the website Queerty put it, “quicker than a bear in a twink bar.” Citing possible riots and negative public opinion, Moscow’s City Court upheld the original ban in June, ruling against an appeal by Moscow Gay Pride founder Nikolay Alexeyev, who now turns to the European Court on Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Know where else gay parades are illegal? Uganda. Good job, Moscow. You’ve now joined the ranks of a country that executes gay citizens.

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