Countdown: Is the Kremlin behind the Punk Trial– or the MP?

We’ve been calling it for a while. The facts are simple: Patriarch Kirill made the phone call to have the protesters arrested. No high-ranking member of the MP has asked for leniency.

Less 12 hours before a verdict which could put three very foolish people in jail for three years. President Putin has washed his hands of it.

Patriarch Kirill, however, has not.

Via the Moscow Times:

The three women are accused of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, charges that carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. They have been held in detention since March.

Analysts said they were convinced that the case was politically motivated, although some view the church as having pushed for the charges rather than the state.

Evidence for a political motive behind the charges comes not only from the two-week-long court hearing, which prompted comparisons to Soviet show trials, but also from the behavior of law enforcement agencies in the case.


Feigin suggested that the trial was orchestrated by Kremlin hard-liners, the so-called siloviki, connected to the Russian Orthodox Church.

But the church itself appears to be divided about the case. Father Gleb Yakunin, a long-standing critic of the Moscow Patriarchate, laid blame on Russian Orthodox Church head Patriarch Kirill.

“Putin even called for a soft verdict, while it was Kirill who felt insulted,” Yakunin said by telephone.

Putin told reporters in London on Aug. 3 that the Pussy Riot members should not be judged “too harshly.”

Church officials have said repeatedly that the Patriarchate would not interfere with the trial.