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Putin Might Free Pussy Riot Thursday, Make Smooth PR Move


12.18.13 Marina Galperina

Earlier today, the Russian parliament unanimously passed a Putin-backed amnesty law (446-0). Tomorrow, when Putin signs it and the state-run newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta prints it, the law will be official and proceedings for the release of jailed Pussy Riot members and the Greenpeace Arctic 30 should technically commence. Technically, the release process could take up to six months, but Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova’s shady husband Pyotr Verzilov hasn’t missed a press opportunity to announce that it’s totally perhaps happening for sure maybe Thursday?

The law would affect thousands of Russian prisoners, brags state-run RIA Novosti news agency, thereby admitting that there are thousands of Russians in prison who should have had amnesty. Like many Russian laws, it sounds both wide-ranging and vague — a nifty technique for selectively punishing and pardoning people on a case-by-case basis. It will certainly not apply to Putin’s least favorite oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has been boringly jailed in Siberia since 2005 wow so boring who is this guy again. UPDATE: WAIT WAIT, he did? It will also not affect those still serving time for post-“election” protesting of Putin’s inauguration in 2012 that we’re like totally over because Russia blah blah blah blah. The international spotlight is mostly fixed firmly on Pussy Riot and the Greenpeace Arctic 30, and away from the less sexy banality of systematic oppression.

Hey, kids: Putin is so totally down with freedom, that he’s letting the people who never should have been jailed in the first place go free! And wait, wasn’t it the 20th Anniversary of Russia’s Constitution Sunday? What a festive coincidence.

If you are one of those few, severely-screened, state-vetted journalists heading to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games this February for the 50 billion dollar anniversary party of Putin’s 15-year reign, give him some special props on his smooth PR moves for us, provided you don’t get kicked out for using social media or gaying it up. Or just insert your kudos into any online communication inside Sochi, so you know Kremlin will read it.