16 April 2012, 17:40
Just 7% of Russians say Pussy Riot girls should not be punished
Moscow, April 16, Interfax - Most Russians think that the late February punk-prayer concert staged by the Pussy Riot band at the Christ the Savior's Cathedral in Moscow is hooliganism and blasphemy, while some see it as a political protest.
An opinion poll held by the VTsIOM public opinion research center shows that the action has captured the attention of more than 70% of Russians: 36% are well-informed and 35% heard about it.
Most of those who condemn the Pussy Riot action are residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg (77%), pensioners, people in their pre-retirement age (73-76%) and Orthodox believers (74%).
Some respondents said they knew nothing about the incident (29%), mostly rural residents (35%) and Muslims (44%).
About a half of the respondents qualified the punk-prayer as hooliganism (46%), including Orthodox believers (48%), Muslims (51%) and those who call themselves atheists (48%). Half of those who share this view are supporters of the United Russia party (51%).
Every fifth respondent (21%), mainly supporters of the A Just Russia party (28%), slammed the Pussy Riot act as blasphemy.
Only 13% of those polled see it as a political protest, 10% called it a PR action, 4% see it as a form of extremism and 1% as a performance.
One-third of the respondents think that the Pussy Riot girls should be sentenced to correctional labor (32%), including Orthodox believers (33%) and those who regard it as hooliganism (38%).
Every fifth (20%), including atheists (30%) and those who see the action as a political protest (33%), said that the action's organizers should be fined, 10% demand real prison sentences, mostly those who see as blasphemy (21%), 9% think that a punishment in the form of a 15-day arrest would be enough, and 5% suggest a suspended sentence.
Only 8% of the respondents, chiefly those who think that it was a PR action (13%), say that a punishment in the form of public condemnation would do, while 2% demand that the girls be anathematized.
Seven percent, mostly representatives of other religions (14%) plus those who see the punk-prayer as a political protest (20%), say that no punishment is needed at all.
The poll was conducted on March 31-April 1 in 138 communities in 46 Russian regions.
On February 21, several members of the feminist Pussy Riot band, their faces covered by masks, performed an anti-Putin song inside the Christ the Savior's Cathedral.
A criminal case was opened on hooliganism charges. Three Pussy Riot girls were arrested.