Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, two of whose alleged members face up to seven years in jail for a "punk prayer" they staged in Moscow's main cathedral, have received unexpected backing from a group of Orthodox Christians who say they are being too harshly punished.
The group's performances have seen them appear in masks in a range of unexpected places to sing anti-government songs.
Part of the growing protest movement against Vladimir Putin, who was elected to a third term last Sunday, the group sang an obscenity-strewn song in Christ the Cathedral Saviour last month, including an appeal to the "Holy Mother, Blessed Virgin," asking her to "chase Putin out".
The Russian Orthodox Church condemned the stunt and called for the group to be punished. Days after the performance the group's alleged members were arrested and two, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, have been charged with hooliganism. The pair, both of whom have young daughters, have been refused bail. Neither has admitted being part of the group. Read More