Two Years in Prison for Hooliganism

Judge Marina Syrova spent over two hours reading out the judgement for the three members of Pussy Riot standing trial in Moscow this morning, finally issuing their sentence: all three have been found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison at a corrective labour facility.  AFP has been liveblogging the trial all day, recording the various actions of pro- and anti-Orthodox protesters outside the court: Orthodox protesters were singing religious songs outside the court this morning; a reported 400 Pussy Riot supporters gathered outside the court to protest the verdict; there have also been a reported 20 arrests of opposition figures, including Garry Kasparov and Sergei Udaltsov; and a number of international voices are calling the sentence disproportionate to the crime.

The outcry against the verdict implies that Russia is a free country and such treatment of political opposition is an anomaly.  But the contrary is true: this is exactly what we expect of Putin’s Russia.