In yet another move that shows how totalitarianism is alive and well and living inside Vladimir Putin, Russian all-girl punk band Pussy Riot have been denied the release from prison that was promised to take place earlier this week.    Three members of the group— Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alekhina—were arrested for so-called “hooliganism” after they burst into Moscow’s cathedral of Christ the Savior in March and, we imagine, disrupted one of those endless, droning Russian Orthodox hymns with a kickass rendition of their song “Holy Shit.”

The lyrics to the song included ‘Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin, chase Putin out!’,  which has potentially put them up for a seven-year prison sentence, when in fact Russian law imposes such public disruptions with maximum fines of up to one thousand rubles, or thirty-four dollars.  No jail time.

Pussy Riot Girl

The face of the dangerous subversion of state: A Pussy Riot girl behind bars.

Authorities claim the Pussy Riot girls are being held for their own protection because they and their families have received death threats.  We imagine the only real death threat they got was from Vladimir the Vindictive himself after he heard the news and was seen jumping up and down in his Kremlin office shouting, “Jail those Pussy bitches! Kill, Kill!”

And Dostoyevsky is cackling from his grave, saying “Todja!  The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  Between the city of St. Petersburg declaring it a criminal offence to use the word “gay” and Putin putting a gorgeous punk band in United Colors of Benetton balaclavas up for seven years in the slammer for exercising basic free speech, we sort of throw our hands up in despair about Russia.  Then we lower them and urge everyone to go to the Amnesty International site and at the very least sign the petition to have them released.