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Think Tank

Russia in "Survival Mode": Pussy Riot Guilty of "Hooliganism." Garry Kasparov Arrested.

"You don't arrest Voltaire." That was French President Charles de Gaulle's explanation for his pardon of Jean Paul Sartre, who was arrested for civil disobedience during the events of May, 1968 in Paris. 

Vladimir Putin apparently has gotten the memo. 

After three members of the anti-Putin punk band Pussy Riot were found guilty of the dubious charge of "hooliganism," protests broke out in Moscow and several people were arrested, including Garry Kasparov. 

Kasparov was the youngest person ever to become the undisputed World Chess Champion and is considered by many to be the greatest (human) chess player of all time. In addition, Kasparov is a political activist and a thinker of high magnitude. He is the co-author, along with Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, of the recent book The Blueprint which argues for the expansion of research and development to create disruptive technologies. 

Despite international pressure, Maria Alekhina, Ekaterina Samutsevich, and Nadezhda Tolokonninkova were sentenced to two-year jail terms for performing inside a Russian Orthodox church. The band's antics have been more than just a small nuisance to putin. In fact, we see the all-girl punk band's viral video campaign against Putin as a key lesson in the Revolutionary Handbook, a set of ideas and tools that have powered citizen uprisings since the Arab Spring. 

Pussy Riot has helped fuel massive demonstrations against Putin, and in so doing they have exposed a very ugly side of Putin's regime. Madonna, who along with other artists such as Paul McCartney expressed her support for Pussy Riot, was recently called a "slut" by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin

Kasparov briefly considered challenging Putin for the Presidency in 2008, and has remained a staunch critic of the Russian "oligarchy." Kasparov appeared on Big Think last year, and we asked him where saw Russia going in the next 10 years. According to Kasparov, the country is in survival mode. 

Watch the video here:

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter @Daniel Honan

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