Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alekhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich were found guilty of hooliganism on Friday (17Aug12) after performing a protest song against Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow church earlier this year (12).
They were sentenced to two years in prison, and stars including Madonna and Sting have called for the rockers to be freed.
Actor and comedian Fry has now written a letter to the band, posted on Amnesty International's website, in which he sympathises with the musicians.
Fry writes, "I can't imagine how you are feeling at the moment as you begin the astoundingly unfair and disproportionate prison sentence that has been handed out to you. It might cheer you to know that so many people around the world are thinking of you and doing what they can, through Amnesty International and other bodies, to see if your sentence can't be reduced, commuted or suspended...
"Some cynics (and believe me, my country is stuffed with them) will ask why I am not writing to those imprisoned in Iran or China. Well, I have the faint, perhaps forlorn, hope, that Russia and its leader might be faintly more persuadable...
"Putin hasn't made a monster of himself. He has made a fool of himself. It is often said that had the world laughed at Hitler early enough he would never have taken the hold on power he did. I do not call Putin a Hitler. Yet. But it is time to laugh him out of this stance and you out of incarceration."
Yes, Pussy Riot sounds like a dirty word and it's a shame that most newspapers shy away from it because it's all everyone is going to be talking about today. Just what is a Pussy Riot and why should you care about it?
Pussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock band that performed a song with lyrics critical to President Vladimir on the altar of a Russian Orthodox church (a video of the performance is below). The three women were arrested for "hooliganism" in March and put in jail for several months awaiting a verdict. Today they were found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison for the protest.
So, why should we care about three Russian women misbehaving in a church? Pussy Riot is a small part of growing anti-government sentiment in Russia which could eventually have a huge impact on international politics. But of course protests and marches don't make for every exciting news, but three young women in masks pissing off the government makes for a much better headline. Thanks to their celebrity proponents like Madonna (who expressed that they should be freed when performing in Moscow earlier this year) and Sting, Pussy Riot has become a lot more famous than any other dissidents and a symbol for a growing movement in the country.
Anyone that cares about free speech should care about Pussy Riot. Sure, they were charged with "hooliganism" but their real crime was speaking out against Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church, which is supporting his third run for president. While Russian espouses to be a democracy, if people aren't allowed to speak and create art freely, than there is no liberty in the country. Fighting for Pussy Riot is a fight for freedom everywhere. Even if they were found guilty of breaking the law, two years in jail for one song seems a bit harsh.
Ever since there arrests there have been constant protests to free them in Russia, including loud protests outside the courtroom today where police were arresting participants (including outspoken government oppositionist and chess legend Gary Kasparov). There have also been arrests as Pussy Riot protests at the Russian consulate in New York, and there have been protests today in London and other major cities. This is no longer just a Russian problem, but an international incident. And anyone who cares about free speech and international politics should have an opinion about it. [Photo credit: WENN.com]
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Three stars of the all-girl band are facing a potential prison sentence on hooliganism charges for performing a protest song against Putin in a church in Moscow earlier this year (12).
One of the rockers, Maria Alekhina, collapsed during a court appearance this month (Aug12), and it emerged she's suffering from malnutrition as her strict vegan diet is poorly catered for behind bars.
Now Clueless star and animal rights campaigner Silverstone has waded into the row, demanding Putin steps in to ensure all custody units in Russia provide plant-based foods for inmates.
In a letter to Putin, sent via People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Silverstone writes, "Regardless of the trial and its outcome, I'm sure you can agree that everyone has the right to show compassion and refrain from harming animals by being vegan."
PETA Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi says, "We hope Putin will give serious consideration to Alicia's request. PETA and Alicia stand ready to help Russian authorities plan nutritious, inexpensive vegan meals for all inmates."
The revered director, who founded Moscow's Pyotr Fomenko Workshop Theatre in the 1990s, staged more than 60 plays in Russian and foreign theatres during a career which spanned half a century.
Paying tribute to the late svengali, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has called Fomenko's death "a huge, irreplaceable loss for Russian culture and for the theatre that he created and devoted his life to serving".
He was working on a new production of poet Alexander Pushkin's play Boris Godunov when he passed away.
The cause of death is unknown.
Remember the good old days, when Expendables 2 star Chuck Norris was just a meme? Well, recent years have seen the Walker, Texas Ranger star begin to unleash a whole new brand of Norrisisms unto the world. Norris has taken it upon himself to decry the efforts of James Turley, Ernst & Young CEO and board member of the Boy Scouts of America, to open the latter organization to the welcoming of homosexual children and scout leaders. Earlier in June, Turley released a statement vocalizing his intentions to fight the BSA policy of excluding gay members. Norris published an article on Ammoland.com that not only strongly implies a negative perspective on the homosexual community, but also expresses several conspiracy theories regarding the "agendas" of Turley and President Barack Obama.
Norris illustrates Turley's connections to Obama (having been invited to the first family's state dinner in March, having been nominated to the president's Export Council in 2010) as reason to suspect that he is acting on behalf of the "pro-gay Obama administration," probing the reader wit the recurring hypothetical question, "Is it a coincidence?" In fact, it is not a coincidence: the two men have opted for a personal and professional relationship quite certainly because of their aligned values, the belief in human equality being not the least important of the lot. But Norris instead suggests that "perks and favors" are what motivated Turley to express his opposition to the standing Boy Scouts policy. Norris even mentions Vladimir Putin as being potentially in the mix.
One of the most outlandish portions of the article is the following paragraph:"Is it a coincidence, too, that on March 3, 2009, Obama became the honorary president of the BSA — a position proudly and publicly held and highlighted by all presidents since President William Howard Taft in 1910 — but that Obama’s induction was held behind closed doors in the Oval Office with seven or so Boy Scouts present and absolutely nothing noted in the White House daily briefing or any other official communication?"It seems over the top to assume that Norris is actually insinuating that something sordid went on between Obama and the young boys in question, but it certainly reads that way.
Norris claims that the BSA's "century-old" standing policy simply advocates a "pro-traditional family stance," but it is Turley who is working on behalf of the idea of family. What the phrase "traditional family" should indicate is love, trust, and acceptance, not discrimination and alienation, as is what Norris is really fighting for. There is no concrete threat posed by the welcoming of homosexuals into the Boy Scouts of America. The only foreseeable results include allowing today's youth to learn more actively that gay children are no different than heterosexual children, and for those very gay children to experience the same joys and character-building exercises that the Boy Scouts of America has afforded to children for generations.
For now, a note to poor, busy publicists for Norris' Expendables 2: There's no such thing as bad PR? [David Edwards/Daily Celeb] More: Chuck Norris Forces 'Expendables 2' to Clean Up Its Language for a PG-13 Rating Howard Stern, Bristol Palin & More Criticize Obama's Support For Gay Marriage Ellen DeGeneres, NPH, More Tweet About President Obama's Support For Gay Marriage
The former Baywatch beauty has been a leading voice in the battle to stop the slaying of baby harp seals for their furs, and she has been writing letters to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urging the politician to take action and follow authorities in the US and Europe to outlaw the import of Canadian seal pelts.
And Anderson's work with activists from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) paid off on Tuesday (20Dec11) when Russian Federation officials announced they will be enforcing the ban.
Hailing the news in a post on Twitter.com, Anderson writes, "WE WON!!! Russia Bans Canadian Seal Fur!!! thank you for all your support!!!"
French actress Brigitte Bardot, pop star Ke$ha and Sir Paul McCartney have also been actively campaigning for the cause.
Michael Fassbender is the guy to bet on these days.
Not only does he have a name that sounds remarkably like "Fast-Bender" (which really means nothing, but sounds like it could very well mean something awesome), he's also very good at that acting thing he's been up to of late. The latest news around the fast bend is the development of a biopic about Russian secret agent Alexander Litvinenko. The spy served for the Soviet KGB and its successor, the FSB, until his arrest in 1998. The story of the film will follow the later days of Litvinenko's life, after he was fatally poisoned in 2006 by an exposure to polonium radiation.
Fassbender is being reached to play Litvinenko, who, while on bedrest in London, publicized the statement that it was Vladimir Putin, then-president of Russia, who intentionally poisoned him. Warner Bros., the studio producing the film, is reaching for Rupert Wyatt, the celebrated director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, to take charge behind the camera.
The Fast-Bender and the Ape-Riser... Ape-Riser is a terrible nickname; I apologize, Mr. Wyatt. The Fast-Bender and the Caesar-Homer (there it is). Could this duo-on-the-rise pull together and delivier an intriguing, terrifying and heartbreaking story? Instill sympathy into a Soviet spy, and strength into a dying man? If anyone can do it... it's the Fast-Bender and the Rocket-Cookier (there it is).
The Russian project, based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's play about a scholar who sells his soul to the devil, won over the jury at the Venice Film Festival in Italy and earned Sokurov the prestigious Golden Lion prize on Saturday (10Sep11), but the director admits Faust would never have been made if Putin had not offered his assistance following the global economic crisis of 2009.
The pair met to discuss the plans for the movie and Sokurov was shocked to receive an offer of $10.9 million (£6.8 million) from officials at the Fund for the Support of the Development of Mass Media just a month after their chat.
The filmmaker tells AFP, "The film would not have seen the light if Putin had not found the funding.
"I was astonished and never understood why Putin, who has never been a friend of mine, decided to support the film... (He) expressed only one wish: that the feature film, shot in German, should be a Russian production."
The British actor was flattered when he learned Russian leader Vladimir Putin used to watch his Harry Palmer films in the late 1960s with his comrades in the KGB.
Caine tells WENN, "A friend of mine met Putin and he was head of the KGB then and he said, 'Tell Mr. Caine we used to watch those movies and laugh because he was such a clever spy and we were never that clever.'"
And the actor insists his Palmer was a much better spy than James Bond - because Caine's creation, based on novelist Len Deighton's bespectacled character, was such a normal guy.
He adds, "James Bond was so obvious he couldn't possibly be a spy because he drew so much attention to himself. My spy is the ordinary guy doing his own shopping in the supermarket. There is a reality to it."
"I know one tradition - if I touch the shoes of a Ukrainian person they have to touch me back. I made the mistake when I was giving a hug to Mr Vladimir Putin, I touched his shoes and he touched my shoes back. So I touched him again. I thought it was a game and then I understood. A Ukrainian friend told me, 'Be careful, it's bad luck'. It was kind of funny." Jean-Claude Van Damme on his meeting with the Russian Prime Minister.