The ado about Pussy Riot seems to be subsiding now that the story has led to a court verdict. Speaking in Finland, Russian diplomacy chief S. Lavrov warned the media against hysteria over the case and urged respect for the legitimate judicial decision, while in Russia the Orthodox Church called for clemency towards the offenders. The call was appropriately timed as the besieged church hierarchy refrained from influencing the situation ahead of the ruling. Believers across the country do worry that the soft sentence might leave churches vulnerable to another round of vandalism.
The controversy prompted by the hearings and the resulting sentence should not obscure the key fact – the Russian society had to face a serious maturity test, and since, in the words of D.P. Moynihan, “it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society”, the scope of the gauge was broader than politics. As of late, the trendy vocabulary centered around the concept of post-modern incorporated the term ”punk prayer”, a bizarre verbal compound which popped up amidst the current Russian debates. From a wider perspective, the phenomenon encountered is best described as post-culture. That should not be mixed with anti-culture, which is the reaction of the type "When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun" known to have surfaced in the nominally civilized world. The post-culture is the rebellion of a black hole, a revolt put up by sheer nothingness. There is a long way to go from shooting at icons or demolishing churches as “vestiges of the past” in the name of skewed ideals to installing one's inner hideousness in the middle of a shrine. The division of atheist labor in the communist epoch implied that commoners do the job of primitive destruction, while it was the mission of the Bolshevist intellectuals to invent rites intended to replace baptism, to compose coarse anti-religious rhymes, or to stage carnivals with characters dressed as priests, monks, and other “unenlightened” Christians. The policy thus combined distastefulness with a fairly systemic approach, the assumption being that crude propaganda appealed most to the populace.