07.08.2012, The Telegraph, Tom Parfitt

Речь Мадонны в защиту Pussy Riot



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Madonna: Pussy Riot have done 'something courageous' and deserve freedom

Madonna urged the release of the three members of Russian protest group Pussy Riot at a concert last night night, making her the highest-profile international star to come out in support of the feminist trio, who are on trial for carrying out a “punk prayer” in a Moscow cathedral.


The pop diva told fans at Moscow’s Olimpiysky Stadium that Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, had acted bravely in performing the “prayer”, which called on the Virgin Mary to “drive out” President Vladimir Putin.


To huge cheers, Madonna said: “I know there are many sides of this story and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government but I think that these three girls – Masha, Katya and Nadya – I think they have done something courageous, I think they have paid the price for this act and I pray for their freedom.”


The trial of the three activists, which began last week, has focused worldwide attention on a broader squeezing of dissent since Mr Putin returned to the presidency in May.


In a five-minute speech greeted by waves of applause, Madonna stressed the international, multi-faith nature of her group of musicians and dancers as an example of tolerance. “We are Christians, we are Muslims, we are Jews, we are everything you can imagine, but we are family, we are together,” she said. “We are gay, we are straight; we are human beings.”


The singer added: “I’m blessed to come from a country where you can express your opinion, but my dream is that everyone in the world will have that right, not only here in Russia, but in France, in Iran; everywhere in the world we should have the right to express our opinions and still be treated as human beings.”


Later during the concert, Madonna, 53, donned a balaclava – as worn by the feminist activists - and turned round to show the words “Pussy Riot” written on her back.


Earlier in the day, a federal prosecutor had demanded Misses Tolokonnikova, Alekhina and Samutsevich be jailed for three years for “abusing God” during the cathedral performance in February.


In closing statements at the capital's Khamovnichesky Court Alexei Nikiforov requested the sentence on the grounds the three had shown "real mockery and humiliation directed at the people in the church".


The women, who were charged with "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred", have apologised for causing offence and Miss Tolokonnikova admitted at the beginning of the trial that their cathedral protest was an "ethical mistake".


But they insist their sole urge was to criticise Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Orthodox Church, for supporting Mr Putin's spring election campaign. They also believe their prosecution is revenge by Mr Putin for their criticism of him.


Church attendants who claim they were hurt by the protest in the church have rejected the trio's apology in court. Larisa Pavlova, a lawyer representing some of them, said on Tuesday that the Pussy Riot women had insulted believers by jumping on to the ambon in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral while wearing masks and bright clothes and "throwing their legs around so that everything below the waist was visible".


She added: "All the defendants said that they are feminists and that they consider such a prayer completely justified, equating feminists to the Mother of God. And that feminism is acceptable to the Russian Orthodox Church.


"But that's not the case, because it's well known what a mortal sin is and, as the Orthodox faithful believe, what leads to the death of the soul, including all unnatural manifestations of the person."


Defence lawyer Mark Feygin said the trial was a "political order".


Madonna had already indicated she would speak out in favour of the three, telling a Russian newspaper on Tuesday morning that she felt the choice of a church interior for the performance was “probably a mistake” but saying the women were “right in that they spoke their minds”.


“I would like them to be acquitted,” she added. “Vladimir Putin must forgive them as artists, women and mothers."


The Telegraph


Другие материалы The Telegraph от 07.08.2012:

Pussy Riot should be jailed 'because they abused God'

Russian prosecutor demands 3 year jail terms for Pussy Riot

Madonna calls for leniency in Pussy Riot trial

Putin's Alan Partridge moment

Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot go on hunger strike

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