A LECTURER in Maynooth is to the forefront in organising Irish support for Pussy Riot, the all female punk band whose members have been jailed for their part in a protest in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
The women were protesting against what they see as inappropriate closeness between the Putin government and the Orthodox church.
Dr. Patty Gray, an American, is a lecturer in the Athropology Department at NUI Maynooth.
She was instrumental in organising the demonstration outside the GPO on the day the women were found guilty and sentenced by a Russian court for their part in the demonstration, Friday, August 17.
Dr. Gray explained that the “campaign is about drawing attention to the fact that Russia’s justice system is being misused to persecute people who speak out against dishonest elections.
“Pussy Riot’s action in Christ the Savior Cathedral was a statement about how improper it is that one church institution should enjoy favoritism from the government, and use that position of favor to influence a democratic election.
“Article 14.1 of the Russian Constitution states: ‘The Russian Federation is a secular state. No religion may be established as a state or obligatory one’, and Article 14.2 states: ‘Religious associations shall be separated from the state and shall be equal before the law.’
“Whatever you may think of Pussy Riot’s art, these are women who know their constitution and are fighting to defend it.”
Through her work Dr. Gray has spent considerable time in Russia, studying the different ethnic groups there.
- Conor McHugh