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Official hopes Pussy Riot release eases tensions with West

Monday, Dec 23, 2013 - 01:33

Dec. 23 - Russian parliament member says amnesty of Pussy Riot members will shrink political grievances against Russia. Nathan Frandino reports.

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The release from prison of Pussy Riot members could alleviate recent tensions with the west. Or at least, that's what Alexei Pushkov believes. He's the chairman of the international affairs committee of the Russian parliament's lower chamber. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CHAIRMAN OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE IN RUSSIAN STATE DUMA ALEXEI PUSHKOV, SAYING: "The potential for the anti-Russian activity in the West still remains very high. But this pardon and an amnesty removes certain aspects that were used against Russia in the negative way. So I think, let me put it this way, that the sphere of ideological and political grievances against Russia will shrink somewhat." Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina were released Monday after a new amnesty law took effect. Despite their release, the two punk rockers criticized the amnesty, calling it a propaganda stunt by President Vladimir Putin. On the streets of Moscow, some call their amnesty a blasphemy. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW TEACHER TATYANA, SAYING: "If they did not serve out their sentence till the end, then it's just a blasphemy. I am a proud Russian and I think it is wrong." Others had a different perspective on their release. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW RESIDENT OLGA, SAYING: "Of course it is right that they released them, but it is wrong that it was on the amnesty. They shouldn't have been jailed at all." Critics say the amnesty proposed by Putin is far too narrow and appears aimed at deflecting criticism over human rights before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in February.

Official hopes Pussy Riot release eases tensions with West

Monday, Dec 23, 2013 - 01:33

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