Putin says female punk band Pussy Riot ‘could be at home now doing the housework if they had not broken the law’

Read Time:7 Minute, 19 Second

  • Putin said the bands three members deserved  their fate because  they threatened the moral foundations of Russia
  • Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda  Tolokonnikova, 22, have been sentenced to  two years in jail after bursting  into a  cathedral to protest against Putin
  • A third convicted band member, Yekaterina  Samutsevich, was released on  appeal
  • Putin also described Pussy Riot’s protest as  ‘an act of group sex aimed at hurting religious feelings’

By Anthony Bond

PUBLISHED:03:46 EST, 26  October 2012| UPDATED:09:48 EST, 26 October 2012

 

 

Controversial: Russia's President Vladimir Putin has rejected criticism of the imprisonment of the female punk band Pussy Riot 

Controversial: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has  rejected criticism of the imprisonment of the female punk band Pussy Riot by  claiming ‘they would be at home doing housework’ if they had not ‘broken the  law’

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has  rejected criticism of the imprisonment of the female punk band Pussy Riot by  claiming ‘they would be at home doing  housework if they had not broken the law’.

Speaking to a group of foreign Russian  experts, Putin said the bands three members deserved their fate because they  threatened the moral foundations of Russia.

During the two-hour dinner, the president,  now in his 13th  year running Russia, became animated only when asked about the  band.

According to The Independent, Putin said:  ‘Whether the sentence was too much or too  little is not for me to  judge,’ he said. ‘That is a matter for the court.’

He added: ‘If they had not broken the law,  they would now be at home, doing the housework, or back at their  jobs.’

Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda  Tolokonnikova, 22, were convicted of ‘hooliganism motivated by religious hatred’ in August, after they burst  into a cathedral to protest against Vladmir  Putin.

They were sentenced to two years in jail for  the stunt, a punishment that many in the West said was too harsh.

A third convicted band member, Yekaterina  Samutsevich, was released on  appeal when a court suspended her sentence after  her lawyer argued that  she had been pulled away from the cathedral’s altar  before the protest  song began.

At yesterday’s dinner Putin asked why  Westerners who criticized Russia for sending  two of the young women to labor  camps far from Moscow had not come out  in support of a jailed American who made  an anti-Muslim hate film.

‘Do you want to support people with such  views? If you do, then why do you  not support the guy who is sitting in prison  for the film about the  Muslims?’ the president shot back.

This was an apparent reference to ‘The  Innocence of Muslims’, a hate  video that triggered violent protests across the  Islamic world when it  was aired on the Internet.

Jailed: Members of Pussy Riot sit in a glass-walled cage during a court hearing in Moscow earlier this year. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, Maria Alyokhina, centre, and Yekaterina Samutsevich left, are pictured 

Jailed: Members of Pussy Riot sit in a glass-walled cage  during a court hearing in Moscow earlier this year. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova,  right, Maria Alyokhina, centre, and Yekaterina Samutsevich left, are  pictured

 

An actress in the film has identified an  Egyptian-born Californian, Mark  Basseley Youssef, as its author. Youssef is  currently detained on  suspicion of violating his probation terms for a bank  fraud conviction.

‘We have red lines beyond which starts the  destruction of the moral  foundations of our society,’ Putin went on. ‘If people  cross this line  they should be made responsible in line with the  law.’

He described Pussy Riot’s protest as ‘an act  of group sex aimed at hurting religious feelings’.

Putin’s comments came amid a wider clampdown  on dissent in Russia, which has  included arrests of opposition leaders on  criminal charges and tighter  controls on media.

This has led to fears that the political  system, which is highly centralized under the Kremlin, is becoming increasingly  ossified and intolerant.

Sent away: Alekhina and Tolokonnikova were transferred from a Moscow prison, pictured, to remote camps over the weekend 

Sent away: Alekhina and Tolokonnikova were transferred  from a Moscow prison, pictured, to remote camps over the weekend

Putin’s comments were made during a  seven-course meal with the Valdai Club of foreign journalists and academics at  his Stalin-era residence in a wooded compound outside  Moscow.

The Valdai  members were kept waiting in a  separate room for an hour and a half for  the meeting, while Putin met a group  of factory workers and teachers  from the Volga region to discuss religious  cults.

Putin spent most of his time carefully  explaining how his country was trying to improve the business climate and  diversify the economy away from its heavy dependence on oil and gas by promoting  high-tech industries.

The Kremlin chief said he had ‘mixed  feelings’ about a $55 billion state-sponsored takeover of the country’s number  three private oil producer TNK-BP last week because it increased  state-controlled Rosneft’s domination of the energy sector.

But Putin said he acted to help BP and put an  end to ‘fistfights’ between the British oil major and its four Soviet-born  oligarch partners.

‘We tried not to get involved, but when BP  managers came to me and the government and said we want to cooperate with  Rosneft, we could not say no,’ said Putin. Rosneft is run by a longtime close  Putin ally, Igor Sechin, and the deal will give BP a stake of nearly 20 per  cent.

Outrage: Pussy Riot members clad in balaclavas stage their protest inside Christ The Saviour Cathedral in Moscow in February 

Outrage: Pussy Riot members clad in balaclavas stage  their protest inside Christ The Saviour Cathedral in Moscow in February

Putin said he was implementing new laws and  reforming the courts to reach a target of moving Russia up from its 112th place  in the annual World Bank rankings for ease of doing business – below Pakistan –  to a top 20 place by 2018.

Putin deflected a question about the possible  stagnation of the system by saying Russia was re-introducing direct elections  for state governors, making it easier for political parties to register and  allowing citizens to petition the state Duma (parliament) directly with  proposals.

Many of the same faces who worked with Putin  when he was deputy mayor of St Petersburg in the early 1990s are still in senior  positions in Moscow in the government and in state companies.

But Putin said around two-thirds of the  members of the government had been changed when he returned to the Kremlin  earlier this year, swapping places with his protégé Dmitry Medvedev, who is now  prime minister.

‘I prefer to choose qualified, experienced  people who have proved they can do well,’ the president explained. He rejected  suggestions that there were any disputes inside the government in the wake of  the departure just over a year ago of long-time Finance Minister Alexei  Kudrin.

Putin insisted that Russia would continue to  give a high priority to growing its trade with its top business partner China,  aiming to boost bilateral business to $100 billion a year from current levels of  $83.5 billion.

Beijing and Moscow were also keen to do as  much trade as possible in their national currencies, he said, noting that the  rouble was fully convertible and that it was a ‘matter of time’ until the yuan  was, too.

By contrast, he berated the European Union  for its ‘ridiculous’ slowness in agreeing a visa-free regime for Russia and  attacked Brussels for not taking him up on an offer of cooperation on a new  satellite navigation system between the European Galileo system and Russia’s  GLONASS project.

‘The EU has a visa-free regime with certain  Latin American countries, and I don’t think their crime levels are any less than  ours,’ he said. ‘I don’t understand this approach.’

Locked up: Band member Maria Alyokhina smiles to her supporters as she is delivered to Khamovnichesky district court in Moscow, Russia 

Locked up: Band member Maria Alyokhina smiles to her  supporters as she is delivered to Khamovnichesky district court in Moscow,  Russia

Putin also had a ready answer for a  questioner who enquired how he would stop an exodus of talented, qualified young  people to the West. It was entirely normal, he said, for young people to study  and work in other countries where there was more money or a good education on  offer.

And what would the president want historians  to highlight as the greatest achievement of his third term in the  Kremlin?

‘You know, I am never guided by a possible  assessment of my work,’ Putin said, before highlighting how the economy had  doubled in size under his stewardship, average incomes had soared, gold reserves  were the world’s fourth biggest, the birth rate had increased – all what he  termed ‘modest, positive changes … but not enough’.

‘We need to create a democratic, effective  system of governance so that people feel they are participating,’ he said. ‘We  need to create an effective economy which is looking forward and to guarantee  the country’s security. I am sure we are capable of solving all these  problems.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2223429/Putin-Pussy-Riot-They-home-doing-housework-broken-law.html#ixzz2ASLCohq0 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook



Categories: Control, Inhibiting Self Determination,

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