Russians join in call for Pussy Riot trio's release [View all]
Miriam Elder, Moscow
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 30 June 2012 07.21 EDT
Pussy Riot try to perform at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev/AP
Artists and musicians around the world have called for their release. Now, nearly four months after three women were arrested for performing a protest anthem inside Moscow's most important Orthodox church, Christ the Saviour cathedral, a growing number of Russians are joining calls for their freedom.
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Ekaterina Samutsevich and Maria Alehina – all members of the anarchic Pussy Riot punk band – have been in prison since March, held on charges of hooliganism which could eventually mean a seven-year sentence. Many Muscovites were happy enough to see a tough response to the band's irreverent act of rebellion, which was aimed at President Vladimir Putin. But with no trial date set, no signs that they will be released and opposition to Putin spreading, support for the trio has grown, even among those who at first condemned them.
"Their actions insulted me, because I'm religious," said Alexander Ivanov, a popular musician. "It's not what they said, it's where they did it. I was offended – but for them to get seven years in jail for an unsuccessful experiment, that's going too far."