Russia’s Prime Minister Medvedev Calls For Pussy Riot’s Release

Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for the release of three Pussy Riot members on Wednesday, a sign that the women’s release could be imminent, as the women’s case comes up for appeal on October 1.

The three Pussy Riot members were arrested after they performed a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s main cathedral, reports The Associated Press. The women asked the Virgin Mary to save Russia from Vladimir Putin as he headed into the election that led to his third term as president.

The women had already been imprisoned for more than five months by the time they were convicted in August of “hooliganism driven by religious hatred.” They were sentenced to two years in prison.

While Medvedev remains subordinate to President Putin, the Prime Minister stated during a televised meeting with members of the United Russia party that:

“In my view, a suspended sentence would be sufficient, taking into account the time they have already spent in custody.”

The New York Times notes that Medvedev assured his audience that he did not approve of the women’s actions, but said that further incarceration of the three Pussy Riot members would be “unproductive.” This has been the most explicit commentary from a high ranking official since the women were sentenced on August 17. Medvedev went on to say that:

“Imprisonment is a very severe — I would even say a frightening — responsibility. What has already happened — that this well-known group of girls have been in prison quite a long time — is a very serious punishment for everything they did, regardless of the sentence.”

While it is not clear if Prime Minister Medvedev’s statements will have any effect on the members of Pussy Riot being incarcerated, a lawyer for the women believes that Russian authorities may try to rid themselves of a case that has ended up being more damaging than they expected.

Medvedev Calls For Pussy Riot's Release