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A Russian Special Police Force is Now Publicly Whipping the Members of Pussy Riot

Really Russia?

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After an arrest for "robbery" yesterday, the members of Pussy Riot were publicly whipped, hit, pushed, and had their hair pulled by a Russian special police force for dancing and singing protest songs in a corner of Sochi today.

Nadya Tolokonnikova, one of two members of Pussy Riot who joked around with Stephen Colbert on American TV last week, is seen pushed to the ground then kicked in the stomach. Russia hired out 500 Cossacks to work in parallel with police "on the lookout for troublemakers and drunks," and this is what they came up with.

This is where we've always been with a corrupt Russia, one that encourages a hired-out special police force like the Cossacks to beat its own people to prove a point for being loud in public. One of the men taking pictures in the video above has been hospitalized -- all of this in a country that can't even put on a two week simulation of what life would be like with dissent or conversation or tolerance.

Russia is not ours to fix, but it is ours to denounce at every step. The slalom is not worth this. We shouldn't be there, and it's not too late to get our best young ambassadors out of there with a purpose.

As Stephen Marche put it yesterday: "The only humane response to the abuses in Sochi is for every civilized country who believes in human rights to pick up its athletes and leave. Which country will have the guts to do that? None."

They're whipping their young in public for wearing bright colors and criticizing the government. If those seem like two of the most fundamental freedoms, they are, and they're being whipped for expressing them.

Why are we putting up with it? Why are we standing for it? So we can beat the Finnish in hockey? Because that is not enough.

 

This post originally appeared on Esquire.com


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