"Facing 2 years in jail for singing a song criticizing President Putin in a church, a member of Pussy Riot gestured to the court and said in her show-trial's closing statements, "Despite the fact that we are physically here, we are freer than everyone sitting across from us ... We can say anything we want..."
Russia is steadily slipping into the grip of a new autocracy -- clamping down on public protest, allegedly rigging elections, intimidating media, banning gay rights parades for 100 years, and even beating critics like chess master Garry Kasparov. But many Russian citizens remain defiant, and Pussy Riot's eloquent bravery has galvanized the world’s solidarity. Now, our best chance to prove to Putin there is a price to pay for this repression lies with Europe.
The European Parliament is calling for an assets freeze and travel ban on Putin’s powerful inner circle who are accused of multiple crimes. Our community is spread across every corner of the world -- if we can push the Europeans to act, it will not only hit Putin's circle hard, as many bank and have homes in Europe, but also counter his anti-Western propaganda, showing him that the whole world is willing to stand up for a free Russia. Click below to support the sanctions and tell everyone:
Last week’s trial is about far more than three women and their 40-second ‘punk prayer’. When tens of thousands flooded the streets to protest rigged elections, the government threw organisers into jail for weeks. And in June Parliament effectively outlawed dissent by raising the fine for unsanctioned protest an astounding 150-fold, roughly the average Russian’s salary for a whole year.
Pussy Riot may be the most famous Russian activists right now, but their sentence is not the grossest injustice of Putin’s war on dissent. In 2009, anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a massive tax fraud at the heart of Russia’s power dealers, died in jail -- without a trial, on shaky charges, and with medical attention repeatedly denied. 60 of Russia’s elite have been under scrutiny for the case and its cover-up, and the sanctions the European Parliament is proposing are on this inner circle.
International attention to Russia’s crackdown is cresting right now, and the ‘Magnitsky sanctions’ are the best way to put the heat on Putin and help create breathing room for the suffocating democracy movement. Let’s give Europe's leaders a global public mandate to adopt the sanctions. Sign the petition now and share this with everyone:
What happens in Russia matters to us all. Russia has blocked international coordination on Syria and other urgent global issues, and a Russian autocracy threatens the world we all want, wherever we are. The Russian people face a serious challenge, but we know that people-powered movements are the best cure for corruption and iron-fisted governments -- and that international solidarity can help keep the flame of these movements alive. Let’s join together now to show Putin that the world will hold him to account and push for change until Russia is set free.
Luis, David, Alice, Ricken, Lisa, Vilde, and the Avaaz team
P.S.: Avaaz has launched Community Petitions, an exciting new platform where it's quick and easy to create a campaign on any issue you care strongly about. Start your own by clicking here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/
Pussy Riot sentenced to 2 years in jail for stunt against Putin:
Russia faces angry response to jailing of Pussy Riot members (Irish Times)
Media Frenzy Over Pussy Riot Obscures Legal Plights Of Lesser-Known Protesters (Radio Free Europe)
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Moscow election official: I helped rig Russia vote (NBC News)
news/2011/12/06/9255664- moscow-election-official-i- helped-rig-russia-vote?lite
As US acts on Magnitsky, Europe debates (The Moscow Times)
news/article/as-us-acts-on- magnitsky-europe-debates/ 463107.html
Putin's war on dissent may have met its match in Pussy Riot, the female protest group. The European Parliament is calling for an asset freeze and travel ban on Russia's corrupt elite -- let's join their call and make it a reality -- sign the petition"Reading this, shall we say, "just a tad ideological" appeal, I wondered who the hell AVAAZ is. Here is their own "about us":
"Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—launched in 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens of all nations to close the gap between the world we have and the world most people everywhere want.Not very descriptive. I found some more information here, including these most interesting tidbits:
Avaaz empowers millions of people from all walks of life to take action on pressing global, regional and national issues, from corruption and poverty to conflict and climate change. Our model of internet organising allows thousands of individual efforts, however small, to be rapidly combined into a powerful collective force. (Read about results on the Highlights page.)
The Avaaz community campaigns in 15 languages, served by a core team on 6 continents and thousands of volunteers. We take action -- signing petitions, funding media campaigns and direct actions, emailing, calling and lobbying governments, and organizing "offline" protests and events -- to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform the decisions that affect us all. "
Administered out of Res Publica's headquarters in New York City, Avaaz operates in 14 languages and, as of July 2011, claimed to have more than 9.65 million “members” in 193 countries (...) ABC News reports, however, that the organization also receives financial backing from George Soros, MoveOn.org, and the SEIU. In addition, Avaaz has received funding from Res Publica, which is bankrolled, in part, by the Open Society Institute.