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Serge Lukianov of the Orthodox New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Church sounds off, along with Alec Brook-Krasny

‘Satanic’ Pussy Riot not welcome in Brooklyn: Orthodox priest

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Turn off that devil music!

Members of the Russian protest punk group Pussy Riot are set to make their first post-prison appearance in the United States at the Barclays Center in February, but one local priest does not want those heretics anywhere near his flock.

“This is satanic,” said Archpriest Serge Lukianov of the Orthodox New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia Church in Bensonhurst.

The anarchist rockers made headlines in 2012 when the Russian authorities arrested three of them for filming a raucous anti-Vladmir Putin music video in a Russian Orthodox Church cathedral in Moscow. The group became a cause celebre over the course of the trio’s subsequent trial and imprisonment on hooliganism charges. Two are now fresh out of the pokey — the third was released in 2012 — and planning to say a few words at the Feb. 5 Amnesty International concert in Prospect Heights, but Lukianov says their message of protest against the church and its role in government is nothing to celebrate.

“It is appalling that people are making them into heroes,” he said. “Anyone who desecrates a church, synagogue, or mosque is not a hero.”

International civil liberties organizations, including Amnesty International, say the two years Nadezhda “Nadva” Tolokonnikova and Maria “Masha” Alyokhina spent in a Mordovin prison were unjust attacks on political speech, but Lukianov thinks their jailing was called-for.

“They have their own opinion, but to desecrate the holiest of holy churches is completely out of line,” the priest said.

Another prominent Russian took a more tempered view.

Pussy Riot has the right to protest wherever it wants, but probably should not have picked a beloved cathedral for their now-famous performance, according to Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, the first and only Russian-born legislator in New York state.

“Freedom of speech is freedom of speech,” said Brook-Krasny (D—Coney Island).

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were supposed to be held until April 2014, but were released in December, which they said was an effort by Putin to clean up his dictatorial image ahead of the Winter Olympics in early February. The rabble-rousing pair said they are lending their radical bona fides to Amnesty International because the organization had their backs while they were on the inside.

“We will never forget what it’s like to be in prison after a political conviction,” the twosome said in a statement. “We have vowed to continue helping those who remain behind bars.”

They plan to “inspect the conditions of U.S. inmates” during their time here, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Reach reporter Megan Riesz at mriesz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her on Twitter @meganriesz.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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