Activists of a Cossack society in Moscow will guard all Orthodox Christian churches in the city’s southeast after a provocative stunt was staged by feminist group Pussy Riot in a downtown cathedral.
“Cossacks are setting up patrols by every church in the district,” the district administration cited the group as saying on Monday .
The Cossack group, called Southwest, also demanded that the Pussy Riot group be put on trial by church believers, the report said.
Pussy Riot radicals shocked the Christian community last week, when five masked members of the female group stormed the Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a “punk prayer” attacking the church for its ties to the Kremlin. Churchgoers were too stunned to prevent them from escaping, while a video of the stunt became a hit on YouTube.
Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin demanded to make blasphemy a criminal offense following the incident. Lawmakers did not react but city police opened a case on hooliganism charges, punishable with up to seven years in prison.
Details of Cossack involvement in church protection remained unclear on Monday. Earlier this month, representatives of the Cossack community voiced plans to form “vice squads” to enforce a controversial ban on 'gay propaganda', currently being considered by the St. Petersburg city legislature.
Pussy Riot first made national headlines in January, when they performed an anti-government song on Lobnoye Mesto, a spot on the Red Square where executions are believed to have taken place in tsarist times. Two activists were detained but got away with fines of 500 rubles ($17).