This Friday, August 17th at 3pm Moscow time, three members of the Pussy Riot “band” will be convicted for “hooliganism with the intent to entice religious hatred,” putting President Putin and his former KGB colleague, Putin-appointed head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill to international shame for their incestuous power dealings.

Or, alternatively, the girls will be found “not guilty,” righteously proving that legal political protest can go unpersecuted under Russia’s complex maze of Articles and Codes and the judicial system more than willing to bend citizen’s rights over the table for their chief. It will inspire more actions and happenings that will undermine the prez and finally signal that hey, Russians can protest if they’re unhappy, and not just by swarming the streets in thousands next time Putin gets re-elected.

That will never happen.

As the media community and the endless throng of mega music celebrities publicly supporting Pussy Riot continues to refer to the girls as “a punk band,” a quick read of their eloquent closing arguments outs them as a creative collective conducting a deliberate art-attack on Putin’s biggest public fail yet — letting Patriarch Kirill endorse him for president as the savior of Russia, letting the world find out about the medieval depths of their bromance.

Pussy Riot chose Christ the Savior Cathedral for their protest because it’s been “used openly as a flashy setting for the politics of the security services, which are the main source of power [in Russia]” where Pussy Riot “violated the integrity of this media image, generated and maintained by the authorities for so long, and revealed its falsity. In our performance we dared, without the Patriarch’s blessing, to combine the visual image of Orthodox culture and protest culture,” as Pussy Riot’s Katya explained in closing. She emphasized that Pussy Riot will not apologize or show remorse for their actions, for interrupting the tightly controlled, impenetrable image of the Eastern Orthodox church with neon-clad high kicks and power fists and iconic balaclavas, for trying to reclaim Mother Mary in their chorus “chase away Putin!” and “become a feminist!” … for all of 40 seconds, for which they will probably serve three years each, and, as dissident artist Oleg Mavromatti suggests, at least three years, “They’ll find some reason to extend the sentence when people forget.”

And then, of course, there’s this:

This is Nadia and Katya as part of bombastically aggressive anti-police corruption action by the performance art troupe Voina. We’ve been following and talking to the group since their epic anti-FSB corruption dick graffiti bombing of a St. Petersburg bridge and their trial for flipping over a police car. The kissing cop stunt was initially disowned by Voina’s founder/hypeman A. Plucer as imposters ”sucking repressionist mugs” because “it’s obvious that the Voina Group would never kiss policemen. We prefer to fuck them with our 65-meter-Dick!” They’ve since made up. They were, after all, in that anti-Medvedev protest “orgy” at the “zoological museum” together back in the day.

That provocative zoo stunt, by the way, is a favorite topic of the Russian government-controlled television propaganda factory when showing the devious roots of Pussy Riot to the people, lest the image of a lovely trinity behind bars tinge their sympathies, lest Nadia’s impassioned speech about the “good always triumps over evil” confuses their Kirill-infused sense of morality.

It doesn’t matter. The damage has been done. As Nadia’s husband Pyotr Verzilov told ANIMAL, many Christian believers in Russia are turning away from the church. ”The hearings have undermined the church’s standing,” said Vladimir Oivin of the Credo.ru, one of Russia’s major religious issues websites. Some Christians are realizing they don’t want to be part of the same group that burns Pussy Riot posters at exorcisms, they’re realizing that their faith and values do not have to align with Patriarch Kirill’s, who has condemned these girls to Hell or with the Eastern Orthodox Church as an institution. ”Even a suspended sentence will not be able to save it now.”

Putin isn’t helping the squelch the fires within. He can’t. He’s trying to distract the public, even stooping to this incendiary, inappropriate spiel at the London Olympics: “If they had desecrated some Islamic holy site, we wouldn’t even have had time to take them into custody.” Wow. And you thought that his deputy minister calling Pussy Riot-supporting Madonna “a slut” was low.

See, the Russian government needs the people to know about these evil foreign spy sluts, about Islamic extremists, about Pussy Riot’s devious salacious rules, lest you confuse the girls behind bars with “good” people. They’re “evil” — not Patriarch Kirill who claimed sorcerous trickery when a photo of him with a $30,000 watch wasn’t adequately Photoshopped by the church, around the time that he called Pussy Riot “blasphemous” agents of the Devil.

The YouTube video reposts of Punk Prayer are now viral video art, a direct anti-thesis of a glossy and immaculate television productions staged for Kirill’s speeches to his followers in that Cathedral. Pussy Riot’s actual stunt lasted under a minute. Without the song punched it, it’s much less aggressive. Yet, according to the courts, it’s ”hooliganism with the intent to incite religious hatred.” According to Kirill, it’s “blasphemy,” which is all tragically ironic. Superstar Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek will even tell you: ”The true blasphemy is the state accusation itself, formulating as a crime of religious hatred something which was clearly a political act of protest against the ruling clique.”

Clearly, all this hating is just not a good look for the Church to be endorsing and has nothing to do with Christian values. Thank God the church-goers are starting to take notice.