I won’t even try to detail all that is self-evidently wrong about l’affaire Pussy Riot – not only because it is self-evident, but because Burt already did a better job than I ever could. But, in keeping with the spirit of this sub-blog, I’d like to point out a bit of a Canadian twist on the situation. One of the members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, may be a Canadian permanent resident (though it is not clear if it is official yet):
There are conflicting accounts about whether Ms. Tolokonnikova is a Canadian permanent resident.
Her husband, Pyotr Verzilov, who went to high school in Canada, has dual citizenship.
Mr. Verzilov has told CBC that Ms. Tolokonnikova has Canadian residency status.
However, Ms. Tolokonnikova tried to downplay her Canadian connection in an interrogation video posted on YouTube that has been flagged by Toronto blogger Lisa Kirbie, a Canadian who is organizing support for Pussy Riot.
Naturally, with her connections to Canada, there is a bit of an outcry here and calls for the government to step in. Personally, I’d be all for this. I’d love to see some sort of Bobby Clarke diplomacy (not that it would actually happen). You might think this is a tad impertinent, but according to Russia, we’re already a hostile nation:
The interrogator then refers to the Canadian identification cards and says “These are the documents that indicate tight relationship of one of the accused in Tolokonnikova’s case with the foreign state, the Canadian one. [She] had serious views on living not in Russia, but in other state.”
Mr. Verzilov’s Canadian passport has also been shown on Russian TV to imply that he is acting on orders from a foreign country, the Washington Post reported.
So, Russian officials consider Canada to be an insidious foreign power trying to bring down the Putin regime. Oh, if only. I would absolutely love it if it turned out that the Canadian government was somehow behind Pussy Riot. But until that’s revealed, I’ll just take solace in the fact that Russia, apparently, has such a sour opinion of Canada. I think we can take that as a compliment.