However, it was an anti-Putin slogan, or, rather, a prayer of sorts. The exact wording was "Mother of god, drive Putin away". Prosecuting this as a religious hate crime is ridiculous. At the very worst, this is disturbing the peace. At best, this is a legitimate political protest, given how corrupt the government and the church are in Russia.
During the trial the judge was quoting centuries-old rulings by church councils about proper conduct in a church. Cathedral security guards were called as witnesses to testify how insulted their religious sensibilities were. It was like reading reports from a medieval trial of a heretic by the Inquisition.
By the way, there was a case of somebody chanting political slogans in a cathedral in the UK. The man was tried in court and fined 16 pounds, IIRC, according to some blasphemy law from the 1600's. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time to spend looking for that article.
I have a friend who is black. He was a schoolkid when busing was introduced to integrate schools. He told me all about how he felt when he saw the protests against busing, where people held signs "N...s go home!". He never said anything about ever being harassed by traffic police, though.
I also remember what happened a couple of years back when an African-American Harvard professor was arrested by Cambridge police. As I recall, the president of the United States got involved, who, in case you have forgotten, is also African-American.
"If you disagree with this statement, then you're white." If you think that is a valid argument, you should not be reading slashdot.
"Also, don't talk about the day to day conditions of somewhere you've never been." I said I have never been to Moscow. However, I was born and raised in the USSR, so I do know a bit about the region. I also happen to know somebody who was stopped by police in St. Petersburg to "check his papers", taken to the station, and released after paying a bribe of $50. This was about 6 or 7 years ago. Oh, and I also know how to read, which means that I can learn about the day to day conditions of places where I have never been.
And speaking of migrant workers, there is actually a fierce debate here of whether the police even has the right to verify the immigration status of people they arrest. Think about it. In some states, the police may arrest a person for committing a crime, but they are not allowed to even ask if he has entered the country legally.
I am sure you know all the ways of dealing with the police in Russia or Ukraine. And maybe the police in Moscow behave better than they used to. But the point I am trying to make, is that this is not normal. You should not have to figure out ways to get the police to not extort money from you.
The difference is the US would probably be WORSE than Russia. We already execute people, take away the right to vote of the imprisoned (and even after make it difficult to regain those 'rights'), and execute/detain without trial people we don't like under various circumstances ('terrorists').
To say the US isn't doing what Russia is doing is non-sense. These excuses don't fly with me.
You are so naive, it's sad. In the US there is rule of law. There is separation of powers and independent judiciary. The fact that protesters arrested at the 2004 convention had their charges dropped proves that. Protesters in Russia get arrested, beaten, and then they get convicted. Michail Khodorkovsky, an industrialist who dared oppose Putin, has been convicted of a ridiculous charge of stealing oil from his own oil company, and he has been in prison for almost a decade. In fact, he has been tried twice and convicted twice, despite the fact that his defense attorneys completely destroyed the prosecution's case both times.
There are no independent courts in Russia. Those who oppose the ruling clique, or those who are unfortunate enough to get run over by an official's car get convicted. There is no independent legislature in Russia. The parliament rubber stamps any law that Putin wants passed. They have just passed a law effectively forbidding any public assembly not sanctioned by the authorities. Boris Gryzlov, who became the chairman of the Russian parliament in 2003, famously said that the parliament is not a place for political battles.
For some reason people seem to think that the rest of the world is more or less the same as the town they live it. The fact is that other places can be very different. Russia is not in the same category as the US. The level of corruption in the two countries cannot even be compared.
There is no comparison to Russia, where people have been arrested and beaten in the streets with no justification at all. Some opposition leaders have been arrested right after leaving their houses, before they even got to a protests.
On a related note, in Russia people are protesting massive election fraud by the ruling party and massive corruption in all levels of government. I am still trying to figure out what exactly the "Occupiers" in the US are protesting against.
IMHO, there is no comparison between the occupy movement in the US and the protests in Russia.
Going back to the facts, any time you try to enter a foreign country there is a chance that you may be interrogated, or even refused entry for any reason. This does not make a regime "brutal" in any way.
On the other hand, in Russia you need a "registration" to be allowed to stay in Moscow, even if you are a Russian citizen. And police can stop you on the street and arrest you or extort money from you if you do not have the registration. You might want to ask the migrant workers from Central Asia about that. I have never heard of any sort of registration being required for staying in Washington DC or New York City.
By the way, do you own a car in Russia? How many times did you have to pay a bribe to the police?
If what I have read is not true, it would be fascinating to hear what you have seen, since you were there.
In any case, at 15 you were a boy. Maybe a boy with a gun, but still a boy. There is a reason why 15-year-olds are not considered adults in most of the countries in the world. They lack maturity to make informed decisions, and can be easily manipulated. Would you send your own child to fight at 15 if there was any way to avoid it? When an enemy approaches your city you do everything you can to evacuate women and children to safety. You don't send them on a suicide mission to clear mine fields.
As far as the chemical weapons, Iraq got theirs from the West. Just because you have Chemistry professors and a chemical industry, doesn't mean you have the capability to produce enough chemical weapons quickly enough. I am guessing being an oil-producing country Iraq had a chemical industry too. Yet it got its chemical weapons from the outside.
Conversely, if your country is invaded and you can make chemical weapons, then why in the world would you choose to not use them and send thousands of your own people to die instead? What is more humane: killing the invaders or sacrificing your own people?
This brings me back to my original point: Iranian leaders will have no qualms sacrificing thousands or even millions of Muslims, especially Sunnis.
The bits of paper, the room, the rule-book, and tortured subject in the room are completely irrelevant to the CRA.
I have understood the CRA as a refutation of the Turing test. I. e. CRA tries to show that even if a machine passes the Turing test, it need not be intelligent. That is what I disagree with.
Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.