What is happening in Russia is akin to 1984. If it were not for the fact actual people are involved & the people suffering it would be funny.
Within living memory, it was a crime to propagate religious ideas of any kind, even though it was said (at the time) that Andropov was Buddhist. I can’t find any evidence of that on the internet. Many myths surrounded him. He was in situ as the leader of the Soviet Union for about 18 months. It is said that in the Soviet Union leaders & high officials who were in public hostile to America & American culture in particular, in fact loved American culture & watched American films & listened to America popular music.
My point is that pre Soviet & post Soviet Russia in particular is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. In Soviet times the church was seen as the enemy now it is the embodiment of state power. It is almost the established church. It seems that Putin is hand in glove with the church. The Patriarch of the Orthodox instructs his flock not go on demos, to vote for Putin. Putin for all his humble demeanour is a corrupt man. The state does tolerate a lot more dissent than in Soviet times. Only someone extremely stupid or misinformed would deny that. It is only just after 20 years since the demise of the Soviet state.
Of course it is the Pussy Riot business that has brought this on but also Gary Kasparov being arrested. Kasparov himself has been much criticised for being out for nothing more than publicity for himself & so have Pussy Riot. Gary Kasparov for all his faults & his appearance of being mad, undoubtedly a mad genius, has much credibility because he opposed the authorities in Soviet times. Kasparov claims that Putin is planning to return to Soviet times when no dissent was allowed. He was arrested when standing in the crowd outside the court when the Pussy Riot verdict was announced.
Pussy Riot themselves have been helped by being young good looking women & have attracted much sympathy that otherwise they would not. Kasparov has been helped by what he is; possibly the greatest chess World champion ever. This is not in fact my view. I consider Bobby Fischer to be the greatest World champion ever. But many people, possibly most people do hold that view.
In 1984, black was white & white was black. Citizens had to adjust to who was the enemy of the state, even though that position changed constantly.
In Soviet times, religion especially the Orthodox church was generally the enemy. During the Great Patriotic War against Germany, the church was revived & allowed. Now in post Soviet Russia, it is again part of the furniture.
Russian citizens must be confused to find that insulting religion is a crime when in Soviet times, church officials were sent to the Gulag for decades & anybody publicly holding religious views was held in deep suspicion & denied promotion at work & so on.
Russian society is a curious looking glass place. Lenin must be turning in his grave.