Richard Boudreaux and Alexander Kolyandr
Wall Street Journal
August 17, 2012
Three members of a once-unheralded feminist group—whose anti-Kremlin protest inside Russia’s main Orthodox cathedral led to one of the most politically charged trials of the country’s post-Soviet era—were convicted of hooliganism Friday and sentenced to two years in prison.
The diminutive provocateurs, in handcuffs, stood in a glass-enclosed pen in a Moscow courtroom as Judge Marina Syrova announced her decision, ratifying what critics of President Vladimir Putin call a growing crackdown on dissent.
The judge said the three young women, members of the Pussy Riot performance-art collective, committed “a grave violation of public order, showing obvious disrespect for society” by performing a “punk prayer” near the cathedral’s altar on Feb. 21.