September 17, 2012
Putin: Hey, Let's Release Pussy Riot
Presumably, this was all in Putin's master plan for a four-way. It's like a three-way, but someone has to hold the camera!
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday called for three members of the punk band Pussy Riot to be freed, a sign that the women's release could be imminent since their case comes up for appeal on Oct. 1.In all seriousness, though, this is very much in line in repressive dictatorships. We see it all the time in Iran and similar countries. The play book goes something like this.
1) Police arrest subversive elements.
2) Court convicts subversive elements.
3) Dictator overturns court showing world that he's really a good guy.
The problem here, though, isn't the process. It looks like the process will eventually free the trio. No, the problem here is substantive. Can a nation truly be free when the substance of the law makes basic political and religious expression illegal?
I don't think so. No matter how many activists Putin releases and no matter how many Christians sentenced to death the Mullahs overturn, the fact remains that those countries have laws on the books which deny fundamental human freedoms.