Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has rejected criticism of the imprisonment of the female punk band Pussy Riot by claiming ‘they would be at home doing housework if they had not broken the law’. Speaking to a group of foreign Russian experts, Putin said the bands three members deserved their fate because they threatened the moral [...]

Sunday Times 2

Pussy Riot got what they deserved – Putin

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has rejected criticism of the imprisonment of the female punk band Pussy Riot by claiming ‘they would be at home doing housework if they had not broken the law’.
Speaking to a group of foreign Russian experts, Putin said the bands three members deserved their fate because they threatened the moral foundations of Russia.

During the two-hour dinner, the president, now in his 13th year running Russia, became animated only when asked about the band.

According to The Independent, Putin said: ‘Whether the sentence was too much or too little is not for me to judge,’ he said. ‘That is a matter for the court.’

He added: ‘If they had not broken the law, they would now be at home, doing the housework, or back at their jobs.’

Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, were convicted of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’ in August, after they burst into a cathedral to protest against Vladmir Putin.
They were sentenced to two years in jail for the stunt, a punishment that many in the West said was too harsh.

A third convicted band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was released on appeal when a court suspended her sentence after her lawyer argued that she had been pulled away from the cathedral’s altar before the protest song began.

At yesterday’s dinner Putin asked why Westerners who criticized Russia for sending two of the young women to labour camps far from Moscow had not come out in support of a jailed American who made an anti-Muslim hate film.

‘Do you want to support people with such views? If you do, then why do you not support the guy who is sitting in prison for the film about the Muslims?’ the president shot back.†This was an apparent reference to ‘The Innocence of Muslims’, a hate video that triggered violent protests across the Islamic world when it was aired on the Internet.

Putin’s comments came amid a wider clampdown on dissent in Russia, which has included arrests of opposition leaders on criminal charges and tighter controls on media. This has led to fears that the political system, which is highly centralized under the Kremlin, is becoming increasingly ossified and intolerant.

© Daily Mail, London




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