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Kaschin, Oleg

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Der Freitag - Germany | 28/08/2012

Oleg Kashin says Pussy Riot trial has strengthened Putin

The trial against the Pussy Riot activists has actually consolidated the power of Russian President Vladimir Putin despite the international outcry, writes the Russian blogger and Kremlin critic Oleg Kashin in the left-wing weekly Der Freitag: "At first glance it may look like this whole affair is disastrous for Vladimir Putin's image. … But nothing in Vladimir Putin's life depends on this. And Russia's image as a European Iran where courts pronounce judgement on the basis of theology actually serves the president's purposes. Now he can tell the West: Look, this is a wild and religious country; it can only be governed in an authoritarian style. … With the whole world looking on in astonishment, the demonstratively unfair trial diverted Russian society's attention from the persecution of the leadership's move to settle scores with the opposition: Russia's best known opposition member Alexei Navalny is awaiting his arrest - a trial is pending against him. And it looks like Gennadi Gudkov, one of the few remaining opposition members in the Duma - will also soon be arrested. … In the context of the Pussy Riot trial these acts of repression may seem completely natural."

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