2 Musicians Fined for Anti-Government Song
A Moscow court fined two musicians 1,000 rubles ($31) each after police accused them of hooliganism at a Moscow charity concert and kept them in police cells overnight.
The case recalls the controversial trial of three members of punk band Pussy Riot, who are currently on trial and face up to seven years in prison on felony charges of hooliganism.
But in contrast to the female rockers, whose verdict could be handed down later this week, Yevgeny Alyokhin and Konstantin Strokolsky, members of hip-hop group Makulatura, were let off with a small fine after being accused of more minor misdemeanor charges.
Concert organizers told Interfax that police asked to speak to Alyokhin and Strokolsky midway through the band's set at the MegaVeganFest festival in Baumansky Park on Sunday evening.
One of the musician's lawyers, Vasily Kushnir, told the BBC's Russian Service that police detained the pair after a song called "The policeman of the future," in which they teased officers for being idle and blindly loyal to the ruling United Russia party.
In a video posted on YouTube, shouts of "Shame!" are audible as festival-goers crowd around police to protest Alyokhin and Strokolsky's detention.
According to another version of events, however, law enforcers stepped in after hearing the band criticize President Vladimir Putin. The two were later taken to a local police station to explain why they showed "patent disrespect for society, accompanied by obscene swearing in public places," the BBC reported.
Kunshir rejected the accusations, saying Alyokhin and Strokolsky could not have offended the crowd as their songs were met with loud applause and shouts of "Encore!"