March 11, 12:20
Russians’ attitude towards the Pussy Riot girls’ punk band has become calmer, the Izvestia newspaper writes. The number of citizens who believe that the girls got their prison term fairly has decreased over the past year by 22 percent.
According to the Yuri Levada Analytical Centre, over the past year Russians have become more tolerant towards the Pussy Riot band and the action of its members in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
Last September, the verdict of Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court that sentenced Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Mariya Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich to two years in prison, was supported by 78 percent of the survey participants. And 43 percent of those polled thought that the sentence was too lenient.
Over this period, the number of supporters of the prison term for them has decreased by 22 percent - in April 2013 only 56 percent of respondents agreed with the court decision. At the same time, the number of those who think that the punishment is excessive or see no crime components in the actions similar to those staged by the group has increased significantly. If last September 14 percent of the respondents regarded the punishment for the girls “excessive,” then this April their number was 26 percent. And the number of those who believe that radical performances’ participants should not be brought to criminal liability increased from 2 to 9 percent.
Deputy Director of the Levada Centre Alexei Grazhdankin believes that the softening of the attitude of Russians towards the punk performance participants at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral is logical.
“The confrontation and scandal are gone, and the people have a calmer and more sober view on the events. When the problem is ideologised and politicised, the severity of assessments and inclination to the most extreme and harsh measures is always growing,” the sociologist said.
Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich believes that people are gradually getting rid of the influence of television propaganda.
“There is much less noise now, the harassment campaign, which was at the time of the trial, has practically ended. And maybe people are not influenced any more by television. They have a more sober outlook on the situation,” she says.
Chairman of the Synodal Department of the Russian Orthodox Church for public relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin believes that Russians have forgotten the severity of the offense committed by Pussy Riot.
“I think the disgusting nature of the committed act has been forgotten. Forgotten partly because the society and then the state have given a tough response to this action and made sure that nothing like this happens again. Therefore, everything was done correctly, we can defend our shrines, our society is morally healthy,” said the cleric.
Deputy Secretary of the General Council of the United Russia party Sergei Zheleznyak agrees with him.
“The peculiarity of human memory is to forget the bad. The situation with Pussy Riot has become less relevant and now it is easier for people to be complacent,” he said.