All I Want For Christmas Is Free Pussy Riot

Here’s an early gift: Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been released from prison. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova served two years in prison for staging a “a punk prayer” protest performance against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral. Their release was two months earlier than their sentence was scheduled to end.

Tolokonnikova shouted “Russia without Putin” following her release from a Siberian prison. Meanwhile, President Putin appears to be on his continuing PR extravaganza leading up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Just last week, oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky was also granted an early release early from prison for his role in criticizing Putin. Holy PR spin! All Putin has to do now is retract his statements/policies on gays and human rights abuse and we can all enjoy watching the bobsled team careen their way to the gold, guilt-free.

Which brings us to Duck Dynasty: The arrest of Pussy Riot had drawn international denunciation of Russia’s human rights record; the band members prosecution and relatively stiff sentences represented a brutal repression of free speech. Sure we’re outraged (but are we really surprised?) by the anti-gay comments from Duck Dynasty reality star Phil Robertson. (It’s a reality show and he was giving us a real taste of his reality.) Should we take the side of American’s right to the First Amendment or should we wish he were locked up in a Siberian Gulag? We should be happy that we live in a country were complete fucking idiots have the right to speak their minds rather than be imprisoned. (Though in America, a hell of a lot of people are being fired from jobs for asinine things they post on Twitter.)

The members of Pussy Riot might think their release was a PR stunt, but hell, they should be very happy for this PR stunt rather, otherwise they’d be slaving away in a prison camp for expressing their views.

So, again, enjoy the Olympics.

Main image: masked supporters

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