Welcome to Moscow, where it is illegal to sing a couple songs outside a courthouse in defense of people (in this case, the three arrested alleged members of Pussy Riot, whose pretrial detention was extended for another two months yesterday by the Tagansky court) you think have been unjustly accused and imprisoned.
Slon.Ru’s reporter on the scene relates this interesting exchange with one of the arresting police officers:
When I asked the officer supervising the arrests on what grounds the musicians [Nikolay Oleynikov and Kirill Medvedev, two members of the revolutionary folk ensemble Arkady Kots] were being detained, he explained that any organized actions are interpreted as [unsanctioned protests], and that outside a court house they are prohibited by law.
“So you’d detain [people for reciting] poems?”
“For [reciting] poems as well — for any unsanctioned actions.”
“Is it permitted to converse in prose?”
“Prose is allowed.”
“What about unrhymed blank verse?”
The officer thought hard but gave no reply. But some activists standing nearby suggested that, given the political situation, blank verse was doubly forbidden.
P.S. Arkady Kots continued their performance as they were being transported to a police station along with other lovers of blank verse: