The trial of Russian punk band Pussy Riot for "hooliganism" is coming to a close. The three members' closing statements were a chance for the ladies to get on their soapboxes about repression in Russia, abuse of religion, and the need for dissent. Read them here.

What was behind our performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the subsequent trial? Nothing other than the autocratic political system. Pussy Riot’s performances can either be called dissident art or political action that engages art forms. Either way, our performances are a kind of civic activity amidst the repressions of a corporate political system that directs its power against basic human rights and civil and political liberties. The young people who have been flayed by the systematic eradication of freedoms perpetrated through the aughts have now risen against the state. We were searching for real sincerity and simplicity, and we found these qualities in the yurodstvo [the holy foolishness] of punk.