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Pussy Riot ruling sows division says Russia media
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AFP – The court ruling that saw one member of the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot walk free from court has generated new tensions in a case that is far from over, Russian media reported on Thursday.

A Russian appeals court on Wednesday unexpectedly ordered the release of Yekaterina Samutsevich, but upheld the two-year prison camp sentences against her two bandmates Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.

“The release of one of the Pussy Riot members has caused a new split in society,” said online newspaper Gazeta.ru.

“Instead of being happy for the release of the Pussy Riot member, those on social networks are beginning to accuse her of betrayal,” it said.

Mass-circulation newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets struck a similar note.

“Which new game exactly have our authorities begun?” the newspaper said on its frontpage.

“Are we once again talking about an attempt to apply the time-honored formula ‘divide and rule'”? it asked.

The ruling, the newspaper said, did nothing to calm tensions around the highly controversial case that has polarised the predominantly Orthodox country.

“Unfortunately, the scandal around Pussy Riot which is absolutely unnecessary for our society and the country is still endlessly far from being over,” said Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Liberal business daily Vedomosti said the court’s decision had nothing to do with justice.

“…the case itself and the trial remain absurd,” the broadsheet said in an editorial. “All the three accused will appeal the verdict.”

Pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda meanwhile acidly remarked that the most important thing for the freed Pussy Riot band member Samutsevich was not to allow a sense of “euphoria” go to her head.

The two jailed rockers have now a choice to make: “dubious fame obtained through a prison camp or going home but with new laywers”, the tabloid added.

Samutsevich’s release came after her announcement at the first appeals hearing on October 1 that she was changing her lawyer.

Samutsevich vowed defiantly after the appeals hearing that the group’s protest actions would continue.

“We are not finished, nor are we going to end our political protest,” Samutsevich told CNN. “We have to act in such a way that they do not learn about concerts ahead of time and arrest us.”

Samutsevich said efforts by the Russian authorities to divide the group would not work and that her “negative” attitude toward President Vladimir Putin and his “mega authoritarian project” remained unchanged.

The band’s three members were convicted in August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for a protest performance at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February.

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