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For the first time in months, the women of Pussy Riot have a reason to be hopeful. Russian president Vladimir Putin withheld his opinion for months after the three punk rock bandmates were arrested, jailed and put on trial for allegedly playing an obscene performance in Moscow’s famed Cathedral of Christ the Savior, but with public opinion for the case quickly eroding and other countries starting to take notice, the leader went on record saying he’s in favor of letting the girls off with a very light sentence.
Here’s his exact quote, courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor…
"There was nothing good about (what happened). Nevertheless, I don't think they should be punished too harshly. I hope they will draw some conclusions themselves."
Charging a band with a crime for playing rebellious music in a church might seem positively backwards to many in the Western World, but Russian citizens have different sensibilities. In fact, public opinion polls conducted by neutral third parties indicated more than ninety percent of citizens wanted the women to be prosecuted immediately after their stunt, but with more than five months of detainment, supposedly in inhuman conditions, and a trial that’s featured the poor women crammed together inside a glass enclosure, a full fifteen percent no longer want to see the women prosecuted and almost forty-five percent now think the state’s plea for two-to-seven years in jail is too harsh.
Say what you will about Putin, but he’s typically pretty good with public relations and choosing his battles. He’s not technically overseeing this trial, but the judges will definitely be informed of his opinion. It would be shocking if they didn’t come back with a ruling somewhere in the same ballpark.