Virtually the whole world now knows that three girls wearing colorful mini-skirts, tights and masks were arrested in a Moscow cathedral for performing a punk prayer: “Holy Virgin: Drive Putin Out.” After a half year in jail, undernourished and sleep-deprived, the three Pussy Riot feminist punk band girls were sentenced to two years in jail for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” The judge refused to allow testimony that their’s was a political act aimed at Putin and the corrupt head of the orthodox church, Patriarch Kirill (widely known to have been a KGB agent during the Soviet era). The girls maintained they acted against Putin and Kirill, not against the church.
A new term is now ensconced in the Russian vocabulary – “khamsud”.
Both the Pussy Riot and oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky trials were held
in Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court. Khamsud, roughly translated, is a
court run by dishonest judges and prosecutors.
The harsh sentence to two years in a labor colony shook the world
diplomatic and artistic communities, but prison terms are an integral
part of Putin’s strategy of attacking “low hanging fruit” to show that
dissent will not be tolerated. Putin sentenced Khodorkovsky, not once
but twice, in “khamsud.” Other oligarchs were silenced or fled the
country. But Khodorkovsky was one of those crooked oligarchs, people
concluded and paid no attention. Similarly, Putin calculates that few
Russians will care about bizarre punk rockers, whose short skirts
revealed their rears as they genuflected on the church altar.
go to forbes.com