Putin Eases?

by Andrew Stuttaford

Here (via the Daily Telegraph) is some encouraging news on the story of those three naughtily-named women who staged a protest in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior against Putin and, by implication, the role played by the Russian Orthodox Church in supporting his regime:

The Russian president said there was “nothing good” about the band’s protest, but added: “I hope the court will come out with the right decision, a well-founded one,” he said during a visit to the Olympics.Nonetheless, I don’t think that they should be judged so harshly for this.”

Supporters of the three women expressed hope that Mr Putin’s statement could mean they would avoid the maximum seven-year sentence for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

If sincere (a question, obviously) Putin’s statement represents a welcome step forward, given the way that the Russian judicial authorities tend to, uh, pay attention to what the president has to say.  

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