Vladimir Putin reacted angrily to the German chancellor Angela Merkel's questioning of the two-year jail sentence for the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot on Friday, telling her that a member the group had once committed an anti-Semitic act.
"I don't know whether the two women should have been sent to a prison," Merkel said during public talks with the Russian president before the two retreated for closed-door talks. "I don't know whether the same would have happened to them in Germany.
"It would have generated a debate about whether that should go on in a church, no question. But should you really have to spend two years in a labour camp for it?"
Putin retorted sharply by saying: "We hear what our partners say. But do they, being so far away, hear about what's going on?"
"Mrs Chancellor spoke about the girls jailed for their performance in a church. Does she know that one of them had hanged a Jew in effigy and said that Moscow should be rid of such people?" Putin asked. "Neither we, nor you, can support people who assume an anti-Semitic position," said Putin, who served as a KGB agent in East Germany in the 1980s. "I ask you to keep that in mind."
Putin has repeatedly supported the sentence against Pussy Riot. Three of the band's members – Maria Alyokhina, Nadia Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich – were sentenced to two years in prison in August for singing an anti-Putin "punk prayer" inside a Moscow cathedral. Samutsevich was later given a suspended sentence and released.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Angela Merkel slams Putin to his face over Pussy Riot jail time.
Merkel doesn't give a shit who you are and what you think.