December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Russian Federation

OPC Defends Russian Band

H.E. Vladimir Putin
President
The Kremlin
Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: (011.7.495) 206.6277/ 5173

Your Excellency:

Ordinarily, the Freedom of the Press Committee of the Overseas Press Club of America speaks only for journalists whose pursuit of information faces unwarranted threat. In the case of Pussy Riot, the committee protests the unreasonable punishment the performers faced for expressing their displeasure and disapproval of their head of state.

Freedom of expression, however distasteful to authority, remains a basic tenet of democracy. Your proud nation has chosen a democratic formula for governance. It is unworthy of Russia for her justice system to impose the cruel sentence of two years’ imprisonment for the actions of these defendants.

It has been reported that you expressed the view that leniency was warranted. This is to your credit, Mr. President, and we applaud the sentiment. We ask now, however, that you take steps to help mitigate the sentence. This course of action would be an example of true justice at work at the highest level of a great nation.

Neither you nor President Barack Obama of the United States can sweep away the action of a legal judicial authority. Using the authority of your offices, however, you can express displeasure and call for mercy.

As members of the OPC Committee, we ask that you consider our respectful request for clemency in this matter.

Respectfully yours,

John Martin
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

H.E. Dmitri Medvedev
Prime Minister
Government Offices
2 Krasnopresnenskaya Naberezhnaya
Moscow
Russian Federation
Fax: (011.7.495) 206.4622, 205.4219

H.E. Sergey V. Lavrov
Foreign Minister
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Moscow 121200
Russian Federation
Fax: (011.7.495) 244.3448

H.E. Sergey I. Kislyak
Ambassador of Russia to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the Russian Federation
2650 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Fax: (202) 298.5735

Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations
136 East 67th Street
New York, NY 10021
Fax: (212) 628.0252

H.E. John Beyrle
U.S. Ambassador to Russia
Embassy of the United States of America
8 Bolshoy Devyatinskiy
Pereulok
Moscow 121099
Russia
Fax: (011.7.495) 728.5090

Andrey Vitalyevich Vasilyev
Editor-in-Chief
Kommersant Daily
4 Vrubelya Street
Moscow, Russia
kommersant@kommersant.ru

Aleksey K. Simonov
President
Glasnost Defense Foundation
4 Zubovskiy Boulevard, # 432
Moscow 119021
Russia
Fax: (011.7.495) 637.4947

Andrew McChesney
Editor-in-Chief
The Moscow Times
Ul. Polkovaya, 3, build. 1
Moscow 127018
Russia
mcchesney@imedia.ru

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520