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Podcast: Has Pussy Riot Already Won?


Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot, waves from a police van after a court hearing in Moscow on August 8.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot, waves from a police van after a court hearing in Moscow on August 8.

Three members of the feminist punk rock collective Pussy Riot stole the show in the last day of their trial in Moscow this week.

Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were contrite when appropriate, issuing a heartfelt apology for offending Orthodox Christians' religious sensibilities with their controversial protest in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

But the three women were also poised, articulate, and forceful in defending their actions in a blistering critique of Putin's authoritarian rule and what they call his abuse of religion for political purposes.

In many ways, they managed to turn their own trial into an opportunity to indict Russia's political system and create a public-relations disaster for the Kremlin.

On this week's edition of the Power Vertical podcast, I discussed the Pussy Riot case and its broader significance with my regular co-host, Kirill Kobrin, managing editor of RFE/RL's Russian Service.

Regardless of what verdict comes down next week, has Pussy Riot already won?

About This Blog

The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or

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