THE BLOG
01/23/2013 11:20 am ET | Updated Mar 25, 2013

Pussy Riot News: The Russian Motherland Hates Motherhood

Wanting to spend time with her young child in his formative years, young Russian mother Maria Alyokhina was denied a request to suspend her prison sentence. The Pussy Riot member is serving two years for the crime of hooliganism. She is guilty of a musical performance and an artistic statement against an oppressive authority.

Under Russian law, the court may opt to put a hold on the sentence of a female prisoner with a child under the age of 14. May opt is the keyword. Humanity and decency suggest that young Filipp, age five, needs his mother at this developmental stage of his life. The hard hand of President Vladimir Putin and the Russian authorities have made an example of Pussy Riot in an effort to bully the political opposition. The motion to suspend the sentence had little chance.

On January 15, 2013, it was a cold day, 13 degrees below zero (F), in hard country. Perm Krai in central Russia hosts a large number of penal colonies. The courtroom was packed with authorities, fearful of a Pussy Riot circus.

Maria Alyokhina is as edgy and defiant as she has always been. She took a very active role in their initial trial. At this hearing, the prosecution painted a belligerent picture of the artist. Alyokhina is considered a prison bad girl. She does not play well with others nor does she follow the rules. She prefers to sleep in when all must rise. Alyokhina has wracked up some demerits that have landed her in isolation.

The defense countered these charges. Rebuttal documents filed by Alyokhina to the prison authorities were not included in this day's case file. Defense attorney Oksana Darova spoke of a prison bias against her client. Prison authorities recommended the denial of this motion. Lawyer Darova focused on the positive, presenting the artist and her responsible history as a hospital volunteer, environmental activist, social leader and mother.

All points paled when the defense turned to the subject of little Filipp. Should he suffer for this trumped up charge of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred? In her closing statement for the motion of motherhood, Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina displayed her brass by commenting on callous Putin's recent ban on Russian babies being adopted by loving United States citizens.

Not surprisingly, the judge denied the motion. Maria Alyokhina has been returned to her berth at Perm prison colony Number 28. Coming up, the other Pussy Riot prisoner Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, also a mother, will soon file for the same motion. Her prison situation in another state may yield fresh hope, yet there is little doubt her motion will also be avalanched. In light of the recent adoption ban and reports of the horrifying conditions of Russian orphanages, one must conclude that the Motherland has little respect for Motherhood.

This recent news story has received very little attention in the U.S. press. This is the advocacy of project Pussy Riot Vodka. Artist Michael Delgado and myself have created a vehicle to keep the fire burning and the story alive. We have used satire and our pop culture to manufacture the world of Pussy Riot Vodka (here). Try a Putini!

Fighting for basic democratic freedoms in a repressive Russia, Pussy Riot came to the world's attention with an impromptu midnight concert in Moscow's largest cathedral. The lyrics to their "Punk Prayer," highly critical of President Vladimir Putin, accuse the chest-thumping leader of election fraud, human rights abuses and suppression of free speech. Naturally, three were promptly arrested. Two escaped the country. One was released on a technicality. Today, two are serving two-year sentences for hooliganism. Remember Pussy Riot. They stand for artistic freedoms that we Americans take for granted.

Read the Pussy Riot Vodka creation story on The Huffington Post.

Gordy Grundy is a Los Angeles based artist and arts writer. His visual and literary work can be found at www.GordyGrundy.com.

Michael Delgado is an artist. His brushwork can be found at www.akaDelgado.com

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