Published on Sep 6, 2012
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20:56 RT: Ok and now I'd like to talk about the trial and jailing of Pussy Riot, that punk group band. There's been much criticism that the sentence handed down was too strong, too much and that the whole case was too big a deal off and that it actually back fired and has brought more people to their cause with the publicity. With hind sight , always a beautiful thing, but with hindsight do you think the case could have been handled differently?
Putin: You've been working in Russia for a while now and maybe know some Russian. Could you please translate the name of the band into Russian?
RT: Pussy Riot the punk band,I don't know what you would call them in Russian Sir, but may be you could tell me!
Putin: Can you translate the first word into Russian? Or maybe it would sound too obscene? Yes, I think you wouldn't do it because it sounds too obscene, even in English.
RT: I actually thought it was referring to a cat, but I'm getting your point here. Do you think the case was handled wrongly in any way, could some lesson have been learned?
Putin: I know you understand it perfectly well, you don't need to pretend you don't get it. It's just because these people made everyone say their band's name too many times. It's obscene -- but forget it.
Here's what I would like to say. I have always felt that punishment should be proportionate to the offence. I am not in a position now and would not like, anyway, to comment on the decision of a Russian court, but I would rather talk about the moral side of the story.
First, in case you never heard of it, a couple of years ago one of the band's members put up three effigies in one of Moscow's big supermarkets, with a sign saying that Jews, gays and migrant workers should be driven out of Moscow. I think the authorities should have looked into their activities back then. After that, they staged an orgy in a public place. Of course, people are allowed to do whatever they want to do, as long as it's legal, but this kind of conduct in a public place should not go unnoticed by the authorities. Then they uploaded the video of that orgy on the internet. You know some fans of group sex say it's better than one-on-one because, like in any team, you don't need to hit the ball all the time.
Again, it's okay if you do what you like privately, but I wouldn't be that certain about uploading your acts on the internet. It could be the subject of legal assessment, too.
Then they turned up at Yelokhovo Cathedral, here in Moscow, causing unholy mayhem, and went to another cathedral and caused mayhem there, too.
You know, Russians still have painful memories of the early years of Soviet rule, when thousands of Orthodox, Muslim, as well as clergy of other religions were persecuted. Soviet authorities brutally repressed the clergy. Many churches were destroyed. The attacks had a devastating effect on all our traditional religions. And so in general I think the state has to protect the feelings of believers.
I will not comment on whether the verdict is well-grounded and the sentence proportionate to the offence. These girls must have lawyers who defend their interests in court. They have the right to file an appeal and demand a new hearing. But it's up to them, it's just a legal issue.
RT: Is it realistic at all they will get some sort of early release?
Putin: I don't know whether their lawyers have filed an appeal or not. I don't follow the case that closely. If they appeal, a higher court is empowered to take any decision. To be honest, I try to stay as far away from the case as possible. I know the details but I do not want to get into it.
RT: There's concern here and abroad that Russia has been suffering a clamp down on the opposition since you returned as President. There's tighter defamation law, upping the fines for defamation, internet censorship laws brought into protect children. All these introduced under your watch. What's the balance do you think between a healthy opposition and maintaining law and order? what's your view?
Putin: So is it true then that other countries don't have laws that ban child pornography, including online?
RT: Indeed they do.
Putin: So they do? Well, we didn't, until recently. And if we began to protect our society and our children from these offences...
Vladimir Putin Pussy Riot Russia Today Maria Alyokhina Yekaterina Samutsevich Nadezhda Tolokonnikova