Pussy Riot stunt less harmful to society than their imprisonment

Yabloko founder Grigory Yavlinsky believes that, although the Pussy Riot activists should not have organized a performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, they should not be imprisoned.

"In my opinion, the girls' lengthy imprisonment and the fuelling of a spirit of unforgiveness and revenge does much more harm to Russian society than what they did in the church. I hope a higher court will reverse the wrong sentence and the girls will walk free. It will be in line with the interests of the country and the goals of the Church. It would be the Christian way to do it," Yavlinsky said in a statement supplied by the Yabloko press service to Interfax on Friday.

"Obviously, the retaliatory sentence will contain disrespect for a considerable part of society and will fuel political and religious feud and hatred in Russia," he said.

Yavlinsky believes that "believers cannot accept the use of temples as a scene for political protests, but at the same time they don't want Nadya, Katy and Masha to be imprisoned. Both things are unacceptable."

"It's a pity that it has taken the girls almost half a year to apologize to believers. Any religion, Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and other religions, freedom of conscience and feeling associated with faith should be inviolable," Yavlinsky said.

At the same time, Yavlinsky believes that "the foundations for the political protest by Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova, and Samutsevich are very serious: they protested against election-rigging, which was aimed at usurping power, censorship in the mass media, lies, corruption, and the lack of rights."

"The Pussy Riot stunt was aimed at drawing people's attention to peaceful, non-violent protest. It was in a warning to the authorities and society that not everything is OK in the country, which was deliberately impudent in form and extremely inappropriate as regards the place where it was carried out," Yavlinsky said.

"Having organized the trial in the way we now see, the authorities aim to intimidate people. It's not very good for the country, and it's bad for the Church. Intimidation is not a solution to the problem. They may drive the protest deeper for some time by fear, but it will not disappear anywhere and will occur again in forms that will be much more radical and dangerous to society under the right circumstances," Yavlinsky said.

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