In February this year, five women stood up and "punk prayed" for an end to Vladimir Putin's rule. Their performance was at Christ the Savior Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church and three of the five singers have been in prison ever since.
By Easter, church spokesmen complained that the Russian Orthodox church and its patriarch were being unfairly criticized for the church's pursuit of strong punishment for the punk rock band singers and claimed that negative news about the church in the Russian media was part of a smear campaign.
The imprisoned singers are charged with "hooliganism" and could each receive a seven year sentence. Two of them are mothers.
Pussy Riot specializes in sudden, often illegal public performances that are political in nature. The performance at Christ the Savior Cathedral was inspired by the Russian government's relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church. The church's Patriarch Kirill has in the past proclaimed that Putin's years in power were "a miracle from God."
Many of the country's faithful think that the band's behavior in the cathedral was disgusting and offensive, but there are church members who do not think the women should be in jail. "If necessary, God will punish them," said one believer to CNN.
Outside of the church, the arrested singers have passionate supporters, who say that they are the victims of political persecution. The Russian president has not commented on the case.