Experiments with Truth: News

Putin to free Pussy Riot duo, oil tycoon Khodorkovsky

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that two jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot and oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky would be freed under an amnesty, but Putin still described the band’s protest against him in a church as “disgraceful.”

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, and Maria Alyokhina, 25, have been serving two-year sentences for performing a “punk prayer” against Putin and his ties to the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow’s main cathedral in February 2012. The women were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” after the protest.

Two of the jailed band members were due for release in March but are now expected to be freed sooner under the amnesty, in part because they are mothers of young children. The amnesty will also enable 30 people arrested in a Greenpeace protest against Arctic oil drilling to avoid trial — removing two snarls in ties with the West before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics in February.

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