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The Church, The State, Islam, Pussy Riot – RFE/RL Looks At Russia’s Gathering Storm

Message scrawled by murderer to mislead police in an apartment where two women were killed in Kazan, 29Aug2012
As summer draws to a close, Russia looks poised to enter a season of both political and religious discontent. RFE/RL and its Russian, Tatar-Bashkir and North Caucasus services report on developments in Kazan, Karelia and Daghestan.

# On August 30, two women were found brutally murdered in Kazan, the capital of Russia’s oil-rich Republic of Tatarstan. First reports told of a shocking scene -- the killer had written a message of support for the controversial punk collective Pussy Riot on the walls in blood. The police have arrested a man who confessed to the murders and to trying to mislead police by writing “Free Pussy Riot” on the walls, but not before the state-controlled media had further inflamed opinion against Pussy Riot supporters. RFE/RL’s Brian Whitmore reports.

# Members of Pussy Riot aren’t the only ones railing against the Russian Orthodox Church’s close relationship with the government. A man charged with inciting religious hatred after blogging about alleged corruption within the church fled into exile in Estonia to avoid being placed in a hospital for psychological examination. RFE/RL’s Claire Bigg talks to the man, and examines the Russian Orthodox Church’s drive to achieve “the unity of church and authorities.”

# The assassination of Daghestan’s highly respected Sufi spiritual leader threatens to add fuel to the cycle of insurgent violence and security crackdowns in this part of the Russian Federation, according to RFE/RL’s Charles Recknagel.

# In his weekly “Power Vertical” podcast, Whitmore also takes a hard look at the political storm that is gathering over the Kremlin, with local elections, opposition primaries, antigovernment demonstrations, and social reforms in the offing that promise to make the autumn more turbulent than ever in Russia.