24.05.2024

Hollywood Backs Campaign to Drop Charges Against Pussy Riot

A group of high-profile Hollywood celebrities has signed a letter calling on the Russian government to halt the prosecution of punk protest group Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina and Ludmila Shtein, entertainment news site Deadline reported on Tuesday.

The activists face up to two years in prison for Instagram posts demanding the release of political prisoners following the jailing of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

“These baseless charges are part of the Russian government’s campaign to silence activists and discourage people from further protests stirred by corruption and the unfair and politically motivated imprisonment of Aleksei Navalny,” said the letter, written by Pussy Riot member Nadya Tolokonnikova, who herself spent almost two years in jail on “hooliganism” charges.

The letter was signed by actors and film directors including Martin Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Jonze, Marina Abramovic, Mike Farrell and Mia Farrow.

“The international community of artists and human rights advocates around the world will continue to monitor their situation and press your government until you withdraw their cases,” the letter concluded.

In 2012, pop queen Madonna spoke out in support of Pussy Riot when members, including Tolokonnikova, were on trial for a provocative anti-Putin performance in one of Moscow’s main cathedrals.

Moscow to Probe ‘Russian Woman’ Eurovision Entry for ‘Illegal’ Lyrics

Russian investigators said Thursday they will examine the lyrics of the country’s entry to this year’s Eurovision song contest after it angered conservative groups.

Manizha Sangin, known as Manizha, is set to perform the song «Russian Woman» at the annual competition in The Netherlands during May.

It praises the strength of Russian women, urging them to be more independent and to resist sexist views on beauty, age and bearing children.

The 29-year-old singer, who was born in ex-Soviet Tajikistan but now lives in Russia, is also an activist for women’s and refugees’ rights.

The Investigative Committee, which probes major crimes in Russia, said it had received a request from a public organization to probe Manizha’s entry for «possible illegal statements.»

IC spokeswoman Svetlana Petrenko told news agency RIA Novosti that the request will be examined in accordance with the law.

The Russian Union of Orthodox Women published an open letter on Thursday calling for a ban on Manizha’s music video and her participation at Eurovision.

The letter says her lyrics incite «hatred towards men, which undermines the foundations of a traditional family.»

Earlier this week a site devoted to war veterans, «Veteranskie Vesti,» published an open letter to IC head Alexander Bastrykin asking him to initiate criminal proceedings into the song.

The organization describes itself as independent but partners with Russia’s interior and defense ministries and the FSB security agency.

In the letter, the group said Manizha’s pop tune «aims to seriously insult and humiliate the human dignity of Russian women.»

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *