U.S. pop diva Madonna said addressing a crowd of her fans during the concert in Moscow that she “prays” for the three jailed members of scandalous Pussy Riot punk band in Russia.
“The three girls - Masha, Katya, Nadya - I think they have done something courageous. I think they paid the price and I pray for their freedom,” she told thousands of her fans at the Olimpiisky Stadium.
Three Pussy Riot members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, all aged between 20 and 30 - are on trial in Moscow over their performance of a “punk prayer,” calling for then-Prime Minister Putin to quit. Witnesses for the prosecution claim the performance in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral included insults directed at Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, as well as blasphemous words that insulted believers.
“I have the right to express my point of view,” Madonna said adding that she prayed for others to have the same freedom and then she resumed with her highly-theatrical performance wearing a mask like the one Pussy Riot members wore during their event.
Recent weeks have seen a flood of support for Pussy Riot with a string of musicians who, during their performances in Russia, surprised audiences by publicly backing the group. Now, the line-up of pro-Pussy Riot celebrities has grown to include such cultural heavyweights as Sting, film director Terry Gilliam, songwriter Peter Gabriel, and actor Danny DeVito.
Madonna’s concert at the Olimpiisky stadium is part of the current MDNA tour, which covers 26 cities around the world. In Russia, she will also travel to St. Petersburg to perform on August 9.