… we couldn’t even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us… . But unlike Putin, we’re not chickenshit—so we didn’t stop performing. The church performance was a perfect opportunity for Putin’s apparatchiks to claim that our motives were religious intolerance and not political protest. This way our persecution could be framed as a righteous burning of blasphemers, as opposed to just stifling free speech.

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