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Tag: Things That Are Russian (1-8 of 8)

Lady Gaga's Russian concert promoters fined for 'propaganda of homosexuality'

It’s not all self-effacing SNL appearances and surprise H&M appearances in GagaWorld. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that promoters who brought the pantsless diva to St. Petersburg in 2013 have been fined for violating the nation’s controversial anti-gay law, which bans the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors.”

Specifically, a court ruled, the concert organizers engaged in “propaganda of alcohol consumption and homosexuality,” which violates a Russian law about “protecti[ng] children from information that could harm their health or development.” The offenders were ordered to pay a fine of 20,000 rubles, or $615, on Nov. 14 when the court upheld a ruling passed in May.

The verdict comes nearly a year after Gaga’s performance — and about 15 months after St. Petersburg regional deputy Vitaly Milonov told the organizers to deny minors entry to the Gaga show. At least Gaga can take comfort in knowing she’s in good company; her sometime-rival Madonna came under similar fire during a St. Petersburg show in August 2012, when she voiced her support for the gay community. (A Russian court ultimately ruled in favor of the singer.)

Though the fine itself is nominal, The Hollywood Reporter notes that this ruling allows complaintant Nadezha Petrova — who alleged that her 13-year-old daughter “was exposed to an imitation of sexual intercourse between women and advocacy of alcohol consumption” during the Gaga show — to sue Gaga’s organizers in criminal court, possibly demanding millions of rubles in damages.

The organizers declared on Russian TV that they plan to appeal the decision.

Cher turns down Olympics gig because of Russia's anti-gay law

Cher has been a vocal gay ally for most of her decades-long career, and her latest public stance is no exception. In an interview with Canada’s MacLean’s magazine, Cher revealed that she was asked to come to Russia during next year’s Winter Olympics but declined due to the country’s recent anti-gay law.

“I can’t name names, but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show,” she said. “I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there. He said the Russian people don’t feel the way the government does.”

In July, Russia passed a controversial law that bans the public discussion or display of gay rights in front of minors. With Russia hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, many gay-rights advocates have spoken out against the law.
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Moscow court to hear Pussy Riot appeal -- UPDATE

A Russian court is set to hear an appeal filed by three jailed members of the rock band Pussy Riot, who have been sentenced to two years for performing a “punk prayer” against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s main cathedral.

A day before Monday’s hearing, the Russian Orthodox Church said the rockers would deserve mercy if they offer repentance for their stunt. The move followed a statement by the Russian premier, who said that keeping them in prison any longer would be “unproductive.”

The calls reflected an apparent desire by both the government and the church to put an end to the case, which has caused international outrage. It remained unclear whether the women would offer penitence sought by the church and how much leniency a court may show. UPDATE: The hearing has been postponed until Oct. 10. Full details below. READ FULL STORY

Russian prime minister thinks keeping Pussy Riot in jail is 'unproductive'

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.

The band members were arrested for performing a raucous prayer inside Moscow’s main cathedral asking Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin as he headed into the election that handed him a third term as president. They had already spent more than five months in jail when they were convicted in August of “hooliganism driven by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in prison.

By being the one to call for the women’s release, Medvedev, who has cultivated the image of a more liberal leader, could allow Putin to put the uncomfortable case behind him while not appearing weak.

The outward appearance of the women, who perform in bright-colored miniskirts and balaclavas, and the “hysteria” accompanying them made him sick, Medvedev said with disdain. But he said keeping them in prison any longer would be “unproductive.”

“In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody,” he said during a televised meeting with members of his United Russia party in the city of Penza. READ FULL STORY

'Free Pussy Riot Fest' held in Russia despite government pressure

A music festival to support jailed members of the Russian band Pussy Riot went forward despite official pressure to cancel it, organizers said Monday.

Olga Kurnosova said city officials had tried to force her to stop Sunday’s show in St. Petersburg — President Vladimir Putin’s hometown — and firefighters had threatened to close down the Glavklub hall, claiming safety violations ahead of the concert.

About 1,000 people attended the “Free Pussy Riot Fest” headlined by the Russian rock protest bands DDT and Televizor, whose songs have long riled Soviet authorities and Putin’s Kremlin. READ FULL STORY

Pussy Riot appeals conviction

The Pussy Riot saga rages on.

Roughly a week after Russian women Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism, a lawyer representing the trio has applied for an appeal.

The women’s imprisonment, sparked by their “punk prayer” protest of Vladimir Putin at a church altar in Moscow, seems unlikely to be overruled, defense lawyer Nikolai Polozov conceded to Reuters. “If the court abides by the law it would throw out the verdict,” he said. “But being realists, understanding all the efforts the state has put into this case, we think it’s unlikely the verdict will be overturned.”

However, Polozov has his fingers crossed for shortened or conditional sentences, though even that looks to be a pipe dream given that the Russian media and government have reacted defensively to the harsh negative criticism coming from other corners of the world. As the imprisoned Samutsevich told the Guardian, “Our verdict shows just how scared Putin’s regime is of anyone who can undermine its legitimacy,”

Since the situation looks pretty dire for them back in Russia, it might be wise for the currently unjailed, on-the-lam members of the Pussy Riot collective to keep running.

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Pussy Riot release new song 'Putin Lights Up the Fires' after sentencing

Russian punk band Pussy Riot released a new song after members of the group were sentenced to two years in prison today for staging an anti-Russian President Vladimir Putin performance in February.

Feminist rockers Maria Alyokhina, 24, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22 were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for performing the song “Virgin Mary, Put Putin Away” at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In addition to attacking the Russian president, the song also targets “the Church’s praise of rotten dictators,” according to this translation.

Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting, and the Beastie Boys are just some of the artists that have voiced their support for the band.

Listen to “Putin Lights up the Fires,” edited to a montage of footage of the band and its supporters, at The Guardian.

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Beastie Boys, Sting, and Madonna among musicians coming out in support of jailed Russian band Pussy Riot

This one’s a doozy, so let’s start from the top.

Pussy Riot, a feminist-punk outfit in Russia that has become famous for donning colorful ski masks and staging activist-minded performances in public, have gone from rock rebels to political prisoners of the state. (There songwriting and performances tend to focus a number of issues, most often government oppression and women’s rights.)

Their crime? Criticizing Vladimir Putin — the man who has more or less been in control of the country since 1999.

Putin’s camp has always been rather wary of the women in Pussy Riot, but things hit a boiling point last February, when the band took to the altar of Russia’s main church, Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, and held an impromptu “punk prayer service” that included chants like “Mother Mary, put Putin away.”

Someone did end up getting put away, but it wasn’t Putin: PR members Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were arrested and charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility,” and their trial began Monday in Moscow.

They face up to seven years in prison.

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