In a direct contradiction to Russian President Vladmir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that the jailed punk band Pussy Riot should be freed. The members of Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, were sentenced to two years in jail by a Russian court for subversion and ‘hooliganism’ motivated by religious hatred. The case focused international attention on Russia’s waning respect for freedom of speech and expression, as well as highlighting the rising influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church, a pariah during the Soviet-era, is bolstered by close ties to the Kremlin and has experienced a resurgence in power.

[The Independent]