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LONDON, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that he didn’t approve of the Pussy Riot’s action but thought that the punk group shouldn’t be judged too severely.
“I see nothing good in what they did. I wouldn’t like to comment on that very much but I believe that had the girls been in Israel and had desecrated something there, they wouldn’t have left that country scotfree. Perhaps, many of you know that they have some pretty strong guys there,” Putin told journalists prior to his departure from London.
“Had they been in the Caucasus, it’s not even necessary to go anywhere, and would have desecrated a Muslim relic, we wouldn’t even had time to take them under protection,” the president went on to say.
“Nevertheless, I don’t think they should be judged too severely. I hope the girls themselves will draw some conclusions. But it’s up to the court to make the final decision. I hope that it will be right and relevant,” Putin said.
The president said he hadn’t discussed the Pussy Riot case with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Five young girls in masks and bright clothes appeared in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21, 2012. They rose to the Ambon and then approached the Altar. With the help of sound amplifying equipment which they had brought into the church, they sang an obscene song for several minutes and insulted the clergymen and the believers. They were ignoring remarks made by the church employees and the visitors and disappeared when the guards wanted to detain them. Later on, the Pussy Riot punk group, notoriously famous for staging similar actions in other places, including on Red Square, claimed responsibility for the punk-prayer.
The case produced great public response. Swords were crossed in the media and the Internet for more than three months over the way how to classify the act from the legal point of view: an act of hooliganism or an administrative offence. An administrative offence has light consequences while hooliganism is a crime which implies stricter punishment.