17/08/2012 Newsnight


Eddie Mair talks to Boris Berezovsky and Scissor Sister Ana Matronic about Pussy Riot being jailed for hooliganism. Plus Olympian Greg Rutherford on the playing field row.

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Outrage as three Russian musicians are jailed. Their target, Vladimir


Putin. Two years in his prn for singing in church, but has Putin


been punked? We'll asked Boris Berezovsky A former Putin adviser


and skisor sister, Anna Matronic. In the after glow of the Olympics,


the argument of selling school playing fields really the vision


for 020 gold? Our long jump Throughout the cold Russian winter


and spring, people have been demonstrating on the streets of


Moscow and St Petersburg about the parliamentary elections last


December. The official results returned Vladimir Putin's party to


power, but the protesters smelled a rat. None of the protest his the


impact of three members of a punk band, Pussy Riot n February, they


performed a colour flee-worded song inside a cathedral in Moscow. Their


arrest, prompted widespread international outraipbl but did


nothing to top stoed's prison terms of two years each. As the old


proverb says the law is like a shaft, no matter what way you turn


it, you're shafted. From unknown feminist punk rockers to bonea


fiedglobal dissidents. Pussy Riot might look like cartoon punctuation


but their performances have ended up packing an unexpected punch,


drawing the world attention to free speech and Putin's Russia. But


today they are their tie raid against Putin in the main cathedral,


turned into a two-year sentence. Guilty, under 313 part two.


And give her two years of deep reservation of liberty in a penal


colony. Outside the court their supporters from outraged, there


were reports of 50 people arrested in Moscow. One of those the chess


player, Garry Kasparov. Free Pussy Riot. Supporters in 55 cities came


out in a show of solidarity when the verdict was rieched. Outside


people gathered outside the Russian embassy. Itch the case of Pussy


Riot has woken up the community of the society in the West because I


think it is something that concerns any three people, the inability to


say what you think. For the past six months these brightly coloured


Balaclavas have been the protest accessory of choice. These were


supposed to show the Pussy Rioters were an anonymous, and about their


ideas and not image. But few can deny it is the image that's got


them so much attention. Who are the women in the masks? Matter Ria, a


journalist student and mother. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a young


student, and Yekaterina Samutsevich a gay rights campaigner, and


computer programmeer. Are they freedom fighters or day glow


protesters for the Facebook generation? It was a long time to


take people seriously. You have three women, which will be


patronising, wearing silly clothes and silly name, performing not


confident musical performance of a punk prayer, doing the can, can in


a church. People didn't realise the wider significance and


ramifications of that. People realise it is not actually that 40-


second performance that matters, it is not what they did, it is what


they stand for, and that's why they were on trial. It is the fact


they're anti-establishment, they're feminists, atheists and it is all


those things that mean their' seen as the prosecutor said, they're a


threat to our values and society. The subsequent trial betrayed them


in the West, as victims of Putin's repressive regime. They aren't


short of Western supporters, a cast of musicians leapt to their defence.


But celebrity endorsements have done little to lessen Putin's


resolve. He told them they would not have survived if they pulled a


Muslim site in the caucuses. The case that is divided Russia, in a


country where the majority still say they at least, identify with


the church, many have seen the act as nothing more than sacrilegious


and deeply offensive rather than anything political. They chose one


of Russia's sacred sites to perform their musical prayer to the verjin


Mary, to rid Russia, of Putin. Today, the judge denounced them as


hooligans who had fueled religious hatred. But Pussy Riot's cathedral


stunt was one of several public protests, the group staged within


Putin's presidential campaign. He won a clear majority in the


elections, and a record third term. But many people thought the ballot


had been riged. Months later the Russian Parliament passed a new law,


curtailing the right to protest. Russian authorities you know, are


trying to come up with a package of legislation that is definitely


restricting freedom of expression and freedom of feeling, they're


afraid of dissent. Not all protesters are as he will went.


Speeches were performed to a Royal Court this morning. Even if we are


here in a cage, we are freer, than all those who sit opposite us on


the side of the prosecutor, because we can say, what we please and we


Pussy Riot have polarised opinion in Russia, but the challenge for


Putin is to make sure the two year jail sentence will prevent other


protesters to follow these Add damn's blowing, animation


budget for the year. Alexander Nekrassky is a Putin supporters,


Boris Berezovsky is a Russian ol gar be, who is no fan of Putin and


in New York, Anna Matronic from the sisyor sisters who, is one of Pussy


Riot's supporters. Is it a sign of a mature democracy, that people can


be arrested and then ultimately jailed, for singing in church, a


song, that is critical of a politician? Well, the point is they


chose the wrong place. It is very important to understand that this


cathedral, was destroyed on orders of Stalin, and then was rebuilt in


the '90s, on the people's donations. So, it was basically a sign, a


symbol of Russia saying no to Stalin. Were you offended by the


song and what they did? I was not offended by the song. It is not a


great song is it? But I was offended by the fact they were


jumping at the altar, yes, they chose the wrong place, they should


have jumped out of the Muslim Liam. In that place of all places, should


they really have been going in and singing with the song with lyrics


"shit, shit, the Lord is shit". Efpb who believes in God, and who


goes to the Church, has his personal language, how to talk to


the God. And they have presented, they presented their language to


talk. I think, as far as I am concerned, I was not ashamed. It is


not my language to communicate to God. But, I was not shamed. But I


want to tell them, they're creative, and this exactly what destroyed any


dictatorship, creativity. They, because they're free, and we know a


lot of creative people in the Italian regime, for example, Lenny,


who created this type of the wheel,. But, creativity finally wins


against the grain. And I think that it is a big mistake, because they


will be releaseed in 2014, which is the year that Russia, want to host


the Olympic Games. And instead of the five rings, it will be just


five balancea clafas, as a symbol of 2012 - Balaclavas.


Have you done that yourself? with my friends. Have you brought


in any art work? Give us thoughts. I must object to one thing, they


never had the proper song and never had a proper hit. So, it is a bit,


a sign of desperation. We might talk about the musical


produce wes, but you are convinced that President Putin himself, was


responsible for this verdict today. Where is your evidence for that?


wrote an open letter, not the first one, I got answer not from himself,


one from his crony from Duma, from Russian Parliament. Where is your


snefdz Sorry. Where is your evidence for the President being


directly involved? It is myself, I am live evidence that Putin direct


order to push me out from Russia, he was my friend for ten years, and


I know him well. And I know that Putin is the kind of major crime


and events in Russia, and not in Russia, but this country, when my


friend was poisoned, no doubts that behind status, and Putin was


President. What attracted you to supporting Pussy Riot? Well, for me,


it is always a question of democracy, and how it's expressed.


For me, as an American, as someone in a democratic form of Government,


for me the most important thing is to have disdense and discourse, be


address on both sides and have a proper place to be heard and


expressed in government. So to me, this verdict is really indicative,


I think, of the beginning of what could be a very large problem, not


just for artists and intellectuals in Russia, but people in general,


anyone who wants to speak their mind. And that is something that as


an American, as someone who feels represented by their government in


a democratic way, that is not that is not how we function in


democratic society. We must have freedom of speech. We must have


freedom of expression, we must have free elections and equal


representation under the law. do you think it says about what


they've done, or who they are, that, after all the weeks of protests


we've seen on the streets of Moscow and St Petersburg, it was this


action, and now, this sentencing today, that captureed the world's


attention? One of the quality of the Russian people that I find so


indeering and enduring, is their deep, deep faith. And the


connection to the holy images and Russian Orthodox Church. By


choosing the Church to stage their protest, Pussy Riot really taped


into the main vain - vein of the Russian people. And of course,


they'll start a huge conversation on both sides of the issue. And the


verdict is handing the opponents of the Putin Government and any person


who wants their voice to be heard, an instant symbol that is going to


fuel the fire of the opposition. And I believe that what we're


seeing today is a real cry for justice the world over. And Pussy


Riot is becoming the symbol of that. What we've done, what Russia's done


with this verdict is create this world of bright Balaclava symbols


that they are they're going to be embraceed by people all over the


world. Alexander Nekrassky if Vladimir Putin has had a hand in


this, even if he hasn't S this going to blow up in his face?


course not. If his popularity will grow, because this will back fire


on the protesters. This is a joke, to call this freedom of spaech,


this is a joke. Because Russian people will not respect these women


for so-called protests, because they chose the wrong place as I


mentioned already. This was a terrible, terrible site to see.


number of places can be seen? suspect what they did, was


undermine the whole idea of and a free protest in a country, if


people disagree with something, I think, this is a joke. Boris


Berezovsky there's polling evidence to suggest the President is still


popular, a poll in May, conducted found 7% of Russians had a


favourable opinion of him. Many many foreigners don't like him, but


they like him in Russia? First of all, I don't believe in


institutions today in Russia, who make public polls. And I know,


completely different things. The most important thing is Putin lost


all, without any exception, intellectual part of the society,


this is the biggest problem for him. How is that going to be capitalised


on someone like you? Everyone, every leader who is losing the


intellectual part of society, finally he is a loser., sorry your


question. Well I'm wondering if you're annoyed and so many others


are annoyed, how can that be taped into in future? I think that Putin


doesn't have any chance to survive as a leader, as the real leader.


And I think there are two ways how he could be collapsed. One way is


small internal circle of cronies, who recognise that he is dangerous


for them. The second way is street, and sooner and later, we will have


the same in Syria, and in some other countries, and Putin is


afraid of that. No I don't think that will happen, we can't compare


Syria and Russia, absolutely different situations. I think Putin


will last for a while at least. And I think his position is not as weak


as some people think. Anna, I heard you laughing earlier, what was


that? The history of Russia, has shown that facts and polls and


elections can absolutely be skewed in favour of whoever is in power.


And what I fear, just coming from the point of view of history, is


when you start silenceing and persecuting people for their


political opinion and their political creativity in a


statements they make, that is a very, very dangerous signal of


things to come. So, my eyes are definitely going to be on Russia,


in the rights of people and protesters, we've already seen


Putin take away some of the rights and limit the rights of protesters


since he's taken his third term. So I really am looking at Russia,


right now as is the world. And this verdict is really just going to add


fuel to the fire of the opposition. I wonder, finally, musically, and


Alexander is no fan of the music, is there something here about punk,


that makes this especially interesting? I think that punk


especially in British history is the roaring sound of the individual


who is rebelling against society at large. And asking questions. So,


what we have is protest, is a noise, is a music that is ininherently


with one of the same as protesting and get ago radical point of view


out there. I may not agree that Pussy Riot has to say. Nor does the


majority of the Russian people. However, it is sparking a discourse


that needs to happen, I believe, and not just in Russia, but in the


world over. Thank you all three of you.


The Department of Education is having trouble counting.


Specifically the number of playing fields solid off since the general


election. The Daily Telegraph revealed the department had


underestimated the total, it wasn't 21 as originally claimed it was 30.


And tonight, another statement from Michael Gove's department says the


total number closed is 31. Yet the Mayor of The Olympic host city,


says the protection of school playing fields is vital to giving


young people fit and healthy. The Olympics, proved how important good


schools sports facilities can be. Just ask the rowers, who competed


on Eton's boating lake. Since the euphoria's passed the Government


policy on schools playing fields has come under ever closer scrutiny.


Last two years, 21 school playing fields has been solid, 14 is


because the school in question had closed, four of them was because of


school amalgamations, that leaves three, and the other three were go


getting money to invest in sports facilities. The figure of 21, that


has been broadcast around the airwaves doesn't stack up.


Embarrassing then when today the Government had to admit that 30


schools had solid playing fields and had to amend that again, to 31.


More awkward still it emerged ministers had overruled an


independent advisory panel to allow five of the schools to sell land.


This is one of them. The primary school in Camden, north London. No


green fields here. It was part of the playground that the school


wanted to sell, playing fields it seems is a broad term. The school


will be entirely rebuilt. We're selling a tiny bit of this


school site, to be able to fund rebuilding the entire school to


provide a better environment for our schoolchildren. We've been


forced to do that, because the Government cut �2 hub hundred


million budget for building schools in 2010. Many local authorities,


are worried. What the sad reality of the current financial situation


is there isn't a huge amount of money for schools, other to meet


the basic and important priorities, such as providing school places for


the increasing number of places there are, in a number of parts of


the UK and making sure the buildings are so poor, there might


be a threat the school gets closed, makes sure that work is done.


Some schools can sell land without the Government's permission. The


playing fields charity says we should know exactly what land they


have. I think one of the things we would really like to see, firstly


is a register of how many school playing fields there are now. That


would be a great move forward and give us a better indication of what


losses we're talking about, when there are disposeals of school


playing field, which of course will happen on occasion and be necessary.


But I think it would be helpful to see both sides of the picture.


we don't have the register now? not currently. You don't need


Eton's acres for excellent sports facilities. What better way to


encourage the Farah's of the future, than to build a running track right


through the middle of the school. Modern facilities don't have to be


a muddy field far away. This is he was Lynn Grace academy in the heart


of south London, designed by the arc tect, died died died, it came


with a price tag of �40 million, that's doubt the budget for a


secondary school these days, in austere times. The Olympics put


schools sports fields in the spotlight this summer. Whether


they'll stay there, once term starts is the question. Well we


invited the Department for Education to come to play tonight


but it says it is staying in to do homework. We will have gold medal


winning long jumper, Greg Rutherford and Graham Stuart who


enjoys cycling and taking part in try and the lons, he is a


Conservative MP who chairs the Commons education semi-. Greg, we


saw wonderful facilities there, what was it like at your school?


Very basic, we had some fields and playing area which are good n the


secondary, school we had Astra surface which was used for hockey.


But nothing you saw there. That was beautiful. What do you think of the


debate of school playing fields? Nifplt my opinion they have to stay.


For me, as a youngster, I was out on the fields all the time and


enjoying myself a lot. All different sports were playing, a


great place to be playing sports with your friends, for me, I was


active as a child and those were the areas where I spent most of my


time. We may come on to detail, but before that, Graham Stuart how


could you characterise the Government's handling of this, the


numbers which keep being corrected and the fact that the Secretary of


State's been overall his independence advice? Well I swoont


get too obobsessed about the numbers, the original answer came


because of the question asked specifically of the application


since the election. There has been 31 sales in two years, if you


compare that with the previous Government, it seems to be rung at


a lower rate. If you compare it across the whole numbers of schools,


more than 20,000 schools in the country, we should keep it in


perspective. The Government and Michael Gove is keen to say this,


that they brought in changes to the rules so there has to be a


ministerial signoff now on any sale of playing fields, that comes


before it. There are reason to believe there's a robust system in


place. Going forward, we have to ensure we improving fassailts and


link between schools and local clubs and provide everybody with


access to competitive sport and leisure activities and exercise of


other sports. If Michael Gove wants to say something, he is welcome to


come here and say it himself. What do you think the rule should be in


protecting and enhancing playing fields in schools? Should that be


done centrally or left to schools themselves? Well, my select


committee, a cross party committee, which supervises and vuet


scrutinises the Government on education matters, we'd want to


look in practical terms. The Government says there should be


less prescription, and many would say there's too much of that. We


have to see what happens, if it turns out reducing rules, means


schools will reduce the sporting facility, we have to look at it


again. So you want to keep an eye on it. What about that, Greg,


central control or leave it to the schools? Possibly a central control


is the only way, there's always going to be a situation where ker


individuals will abuse the system. And then you risk losing out for


many children, what is the essentially the best place to learn


sports and stay active and fit and healthy. It could take too long if


you left it up to an open committee, and then they said, now you're


using it, we have to look at it again. You have to centralise it,


and make sure that one rule fits for all. Graham Stuart it should be


said the Department of Education will see the capital budget fall


for 60% in real sterms in the course of this Parliament. Do you


think schools will say, we can make extra cash by selling off the


playing fields and rebuild the rest of the school. What will stop them?


Ministers have to sign on every one for a start, so you have a minister


answerable to Parliament, who has to sign off. And this August story,


which may be built on flimsy foundations but good timing after


the Olympics, helps that ministers will be unable to do that. Tell be


held to account whafplt is important is we get a strategy


going forward, that co-ordinates provision for young people.


encourages sport and capitalise on so many great clubs. If a school is


falling down, in a state of disrepair and the school thinks


well the only way we can spai is selling off playing fields, isn't


that a sensible thing for the school to do? The rules say you


have to ensure better provision, sporting provision for the young


people. The fact we are nae this situation, because we had a


Government that spent far more than it had coming in, and put it in


this state is a reality for everybody. We can't make money grow


on trees, we have to get the deficit under control. School


capital, as we heart in the piece, saw vaust expenditure, under the


last Government. This Government has had to life in austere times


and deliver better quality services for less money. I think we can do


that, and we have to ensure we have the best possible planning and not


get hung up on the playing fields. At the moment, I'm confident there


will be not a massive increase in selloffs.


Braefl, how important is it there are facilities on site at each


school? It is even more so at the moment. We've come out of a great


two-and-a-half weeks, and about to go into more of that. There will be


more inspired children and people who want to be involved in sport.


So, if we risk losing areas for the kids to be playing at, it is going


to be a detriment to the next generation. Thank you both very


much. The review, show starts in a few moments and Kirstie, like a


coiled Cobra is posed to tell us. Well in just a moment, politicians


riding for a fall as featured at the Edinburgh Festival. The tragic


come day di that is Tommy Sheridan impersated in ice Tommy. That and


Pixar epic, Brave, do join us in a moment. Let's have a look at the


papers for tomorrow. Times leads with the Pussy Riot uproar we've


with the Pussy Riot uproar we've been discussing..


The daily Mail, has a story about tap water being solid in


supermarkets. This is bottles of Tesco, every day still water and


Asda, smart priced water, sitting on the shelves with big brands. The


Guardian, they have a story about former Barclays boss. That's all


from Newsnight tonight. We don't normally approve with anything like


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