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You're reading: Russian minister defends Pussy Riot sentence
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Alexander Konovalov says the sentence given to the three band members for hooliganism after they performed a “punk prayer” against President Vladimir Putin at Moscow’s main cathedral is a “a very subjective matter.”

Konovalov was responding Wednesday to EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom who repeated EU concerns that the sentence was disproportionate to a “peaceful expression of protest,” even though it may have offended many people.

Konovalov urged the EU to engage Russian authorities in dialogue on the issue instead of “coming up with a politicized assessment based on unverified information.”

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