Rachel Marsden

The longer game of subversion would have required them to spend years working to get into a key position within the power structure, then influencing and subverting the system to change what they don't like. The effects of such an effort would have been more organic, credible and durable.

Or, at the very least, they could have practiced for several years to hone their "art" in the event that they were serious about being artists and not just serious about being hooligans. That's why Madonna can say all sorts of nonsense from a concert stage and constantly push the boundaries of free speech without getting arrested -- because she's actually earned the "artist" label and the leeway society affords it.

Somehow Russian President Vladimir Putin has been dragged into all this, presumably because this story is sexier with a Bond villain -- and because it's always preferable to hold someone else responsible for one's own bad behavior. Pussy Riot supporters claim that Putin has the long knives out for the band because they mentioned him in a song. The idea of Putin sitting around blubbering over being badmouthed by some girls in a YouTube video certainly undermines any evil image. The smearing of Putin as hypersensitive and vindictive would have been more credible had they intelligently addressed Putin's policies without breaking any laws, or associated themselves with a larger group of activists known for flaunting it relentlessly and treating it as a joke. Pussy Riot didn't keep its powder dry.

It's not as if Putin just invented the Russian law against hooliganism. The penalty of up to seven years in prison wasn't concocted especially for Pussy Riot. In fact, the same crime of religious hooliganism in Germany carries a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment -- a year more than the sentence Pussy Riot members received.

The Western media should save its tears for those who truly deserve them.

Rachel Marsden

Rachel Marsden is a columnist with Human Events Magazine, and Editor-In-Chief of GrandCentralPolitical News Syndicate.
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