08 October 2012, 10:02
Putin deems fair Pussy Riot sentence
Vladivostok, October 8, Interfax - Three Pussy Riot punk musicians sentenced to two years for their action at the Moscow Christ the Savior Cathedral got what they wanted, President Vladimir Putin said in a film aired by the Central Television program of the NTV channel on Sunday.
"Their arrest was right and their sentence was right. One must not erode moral fundamentals and undermine the country. What will be left without that?" Putin wondered.
The performers must have known that "this is our last stronghold," he said.
"My first reaction was to apologize to the believers for what they did; I thought that would be the end of it," the president said. But the case was opened and "the court heard it and sentenced them to two years."
"I have nothing to do with that. They got what they asked for," he said.
Putin asked whether program anchor Vadim Takmenev knew how the punk band's name was translated. Takmenev said he knew but could not say that on television.
"You see, you cannot say that aloud; these girls must be talented; they forced the whole world to pronounce that word," Putin said.
Takmenev recalled that the girls were sentenced for the incitement to religious hatred but they claimed it was a protest against the patriarch and the president.
"As you know and as the experts confirmed, everything concerning the president was a later addition; they said nothing like that in the Cathedral," Putin said.
"I do not know if it is so or not. But if it is, then it was a way to catch attention and a way to defend themselves, as if they were engaged in politics rather than simply committed an act of hooliganism and defiled the Cathedral," the president said.