In a year when so many voices of liberty and dissent have suffered harsh retribution, the Russian feminist punk group Pussy Riot has paid a particularly steep price for provocative political expression. Three of the collective's members were sentenced to two-year jail terms for their February 2012 commando performance in Moscow's main cathedral denouncing the Russian Orthodox Church's support of authoritarian President Vladimir Putin. Following international outcry over the show trial (which united Pussy Riot supporters ranging from Aung San Suu Kyi to the Beastie Boys), the sentence of one band member was suspended. Russian Premier Dmitri Medvedev has urged similar clemency for the remaining two women, who were sent to labor camps far from Moscow; both of them have young children at home. So far, Putin has rejected criticism of their continued imprisonment, saying recently that the group threatened the "moral foundations" of Russia.
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