Stop what you’re doing and watch journalist James Kirchick rock his rainbow-striped suspenders and get kicked off the Kremlin-funded network RT for protesting Russia’s anti-gay laws.
Eli Lake has a hater.
"In my career as a journalist, I have been fortunate enough to report from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, India, China, and North Korea. I have never been to Russia, though. If a Russian blogger gets his way, I may never get the chance," he writes of this strange little happenstance.
Marina Litvinenko (Photo: Kate Peters/INSTITUTE for Newsweek)
Pussy Riot was convicted of hooliganism in Russia today. They have been sentenced to two years in prison. Here’s a selection of Maria Alyokhina’s closing statement, in which she discusses poetry (via n+1):
I would like to point out that very similar methods were used during the trial of the poet [Joseph] Brodsky. His poems were defined as “so-called” poems; the witnesses for the prosecution hadn’t actually read them—just as a number of the witnesses in our case didn’t see the performance itself and only watched the clip online. Our apologies, it seems, are also being defined by the collective prosecuting body as “so-called” apologies. Even though this is offensive. And I am overwhelmed with moral injury and psychological trauma. Because our apologies were sincere. I am sorry that so many words have been uttered and you all still haven’t understood this. Or it is calculated deviousness when you talk about our apologies as insincere. I don’t know what you still need to hear from us. But for me this trial is a “so-called” trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of falsehood and fictitiousness, of sloppily disguised deception, in the verdict of the so-called court.
Just another “so-called” trial in a “so-called” modern democracy.
Newsweek’s Russian correspondent just sent this update from the Pussy Riot sentencing.
A Secret Putin Palace on Russia’s Black Sea?
On a recent morning, in the village of Praskoveyevka, located on the northern coast of Russia’s Black Sea, a few hours’ drive from Sochi, host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, a group of activists—some in bathing suits, others in the nude—went for a swim at a public beach. Their goal: to get a closer look at an extravagant mansion, set in the middle of a nearby forest. The house, with its black, iron gate and Soviet era façade, looked surreal, as if someone had transported it from Moscow and dropped it in the middle of nowhere.
As the activists swam toward the mansion, two security guards in black uniforms spotted them from a distance. Soon a motor boat with more men in black appeared, its engine growling ominously as it sped over the water. Hoping to make an escape, activists swam toward a dredge with a “Spetcstroi Rossii” sign on its side, for the special state construction company of the Russian government. Yet as the boat approached, the guards realized that some of the activists were naked. Disgusted, they gave up pursuit. On that day at least, they had no desire to take nude prisoners; instead they simply ordered them to return to the shore. “Tell us when you plan to visit us next time,” one of the guards said snidely.
So this is a wild tale… That palace? It might be Russian President Vladimir Putin’s!
Photo of the Day: Sunbathers enjoy the warm weather on Strogino beach in Moscow, Russia
[Photo: Karpov Sergei, ITAR-TASS / Landov. See more Photos of the Day here.]