Pussy Riot To Be Freed: Amnesty for Russian Punk Band, Greenpeace Protestors and Others

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are being freed under the amnesty bill being submitted by Vladimir Putin to the Duma, the Russian parliament, on Monday December 9, to mark the Russian constitution’s 20th anniversary on Thursday. Nadya’s husband Pyotr Verzilov confirmed the rumors to The Voice Project:

It’s from the Kremlin and official already, they will be freed. We do not know yet when this will happen, because it is unclear when the bill will be voted by the Duma and how fast it will be applied to prisons – could be from 2 weeks to 2 months until they are freed.

The Voice Project also reports that Nadya’s father Andrei has also been able to confirm this from “reliable sources.” Nadya was moved to Siberia in November after protesting conditions and going on a hunger strike at her previous penal colony in Morodovia. She is now hospitalized in a Siberian prison facility, Regional Tuberculosis Hospital No. 1.

The BBC reports that Putin may also free the Greenpeace Arctic 30 campaigners currently on bail and facing trial on (reduced) charges of hooliganism, as well as some of the opposition activists involved in unrest in May 2012.

This all feels like a Putin move to make Russia seem less yucky-looking in the buildup to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Simone Baumann’s film Putin’s Game, documenting charges of threats, corruption, and environmental damage is screening throughout Europe. Pussy Riot jailed, Greenpeace activists facing trial, “gay propaganda” banned and LGBTQ beaten, Elton John (finally) speaking out about anti-gay discrimination in Russia. From the stage. While performing a concert in Moscow. Add in a boycott of Smirnoff vodka and Putin had to do something.

In a surprising move, NBC has named the New Yorker’s editor and a former Moscow correspondent for The Washington Post, David Remnick as a guest correspondent:

Remnick said NBC had guaranteed him editorial independence with his commentary, including such politically charged issues as gay rights and the relationship between Russia and Ukraine. “There is nothing in the world — and I know they don’t intend to hinder me in this way — where I would not be honest in my analysis,” Remnick said. “It would be a waste of everyone’s integrity and time if otherwise.”

Meanwhile, it could be a very happy new year for Pussy Riot, Greenpeace, and other jailed Russian activists. (more…)

Late Night: Pigskin Parade’s Footballers vs. the Commie Comic Foil


Spoiler alert: Plot points revealed!

Pigskin Parade (1936) features Judy Garland as the perky and talented sister of Amos Dodd, a hick kid illegitimately recruited to a Texas university in order to beat Yale in the season’s big game.  There is a hitch, though. Dodd is a hillbilly melon farmer who has never gone to school (but he is a super talented harmonica player,  music runs in that family!). Amos doesn’t have his admission credentials in place, so the clever members of football frat Delta Delta Pi come up with a solution:
One of the transferring DDP  members, Herbert Terwilliger Van Dyke, has already declared his loathing of football, arguing that the sport is a capitalist plot designed by meat barons. (Van Dyke is played by Elisha Cook, Jr. who five years later would appear in a completely different role as  Wilmer the gunsel in John Huston’s The Maltese Falcon.)

Though an obviously wealthy nerd, H. Terwilliger Van Dyke–as he calls himself–has actually done jail time (two months in jail in New Jersey!) by turning against his class and putting his beliefs  into action.  As H. Terwilliger Van Dyke tells his Texan frat brothers, while attending the (fictional) East Coast Bradley University, he:

crashed a brick through the window of a bank. The capitalistic faculty at Bradley expelled me.

As seen in the video above, the stalwart Texans set up Van Dyke by pretending to support his

vital message to the collegiate youth of the nation,

published in his  manifesto, Youth vs Capitalism: A Militant Message to College Students so they use HTVD’s credentials to get Amos into school after the budding radical is arrested re-creating the New Jersey bank window crashing escapade while tossing around copies of his manifesto. Wow, the frat boys are outside agitators!

So let’s see, the football coach knowingly recruits an ineligible, illiterate talented football player while members of the team:

• encourage vandalism
• get a frat brother arrested
• perpetuate what today would be considered identity theft in order to enroll the ineligible and illiterate Amos Dodd (and his sister) in college so the team can win against Yale
• finagle funds to pay for the sibling’s tuition
• force a false identity on Amos’ sister Sairy Dodd (Judy Garland) in order to encourage Amos to participate in the ruse.

Wow. So Pigskin Parade basically is saying that it’s better to be an unethical college sports coach or simply malicious, deceitful and cruel than to be a Commie. God/s bless America!


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