PRAGUE, November 5 (RIA Novosti) – Members of Russian band Pussy Riot are worthy of the words they are using themselves, Czech President Milos Zeman told Blesk newspaper on Wednesday, responding to criticism for using foul language on the air while speaking about the group.
"I do not consider the members of this musical band an ideal example of political prisoners. In support of my words, I cited certain expressions from their songs, which are really vulgar," the newspaper quoted the president as saying.
Zeman added that he would not pay a fine that could be imposed on him for making such remarks as a public figure.
During a Sunday interview to Radio Praha, Zeman used obscene words, translating the name of the band. He also characterized Pussy Riot as "regular thugs, linked to pornography." A number of Czech political figures, the country's prime minister and former finance minister have condemned Zeman's behavior.
In February 2012, five members of the group staged what they called a punk prayer in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior. A video of the performance went viral on the Internet, drawing a wide variety of responses from Russians.
Three of the group's members were arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism. In October 2012, the punishment for Ekaterina Samutsevich was changed to conditional.
In December 2013, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina were granted amnesty by President Vladimir Putin in honor of the 20th Anniversary of the Russian Constitution.