Russia denounced foreign criticism of the trial of punk band Pussy Riot as politically motivated on Wednesday and said there were “elements of a clash of civilizations” in Western condemnation.
Three members of the band were sentenced to two years’ jail last week for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” when they performed a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral, calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin.
Western governments have said the sentences handed down to Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were disproportionate. Rights groups and musicians have called for their release.
Critics of Putin, who returned to the presidency for a third term on May 7 after a four-year spell as prime minister, say the Pussy Riot case illustrated his lack of tolerance of dissent.
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