On Feb. 21, 2012, five young women in masks tried to stage an improvised performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, chanting: “Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Expel Putin!” The song lasted for less than a minute and was stopped by the cathedral’s security service. The act had taken place in the closed area behind the icon screen where the altar is located and only priests and other church officials – all men – are allowed.

A criminal case against the members of the group, known as Pussy Riot, was opened by the Moscow police on March 2. They are being charged with hooliganism, which could result in up to seven years in prison and put the women on the wanted list. On March 4, two Pussy Riot members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, were arrested, and a bit later, Yekaterina Samutsevich,was detained. On July 20, 2012, the Moscow Khamovnichesky Court began closed-door preliminary hearings in the case and decided to extend the current term of detention for the three women until January 12, 2013. The current term of detention of the accused, who have been in jail since February, expires on July 24.

The prank by Pussy Riot caused a wide response and split public opinion, both secular and religious.

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Moscow City Court mitigates sentence for Pussy Riot members

The Moscow City Court presidium on Friday mitigated the sentence imposed on members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot, who were convicted for their "performance" in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, an Interfax correspondent has reported

Pussy Riot takes New York

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