Pussy Riot and Russia's Deep State

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Like Madonna and Bjork, I've been following the trial of Russia's Pussy Riot, an all-female punk band that staged a protest of Putin's rule in a Russian Orthodox cathedral in February. Tomorrow the judge will decide whether each of the three women get three-year prison sentences. The odds are against Pussy Riot: the Russian New Times reports the judge has decided "guilty" for 179 of the 180 cases that are listed online, according to Radio Free Europe. But in another part of RFE's site, Russia analyst Brian Whitmore has a very interesting analysis about how Putin's display of force reveals that he's lost control of the public dialogue, and opposition leaders are gaining. The heart of Whitmore's argument is that when Putin grabbed power last fall, he revealed the open secret of Russia's "deep state" with its "permanent ruling super-elite" the deep state began to fall apart.

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