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Russian punk band says freed to improve Russia's image before Olympics

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[December 27, 2013]  MOSCOW (Reuters) One of two freed members of punk protest band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, said on Friday that their release was an effort to improve Russia's image before the Sochi Olympics, which she called President Vladimir Putin's pet project.

At a news conference four days after their release under a Kremlin amnesty, Tolokonnikova's band mate Maria Alyokhina said the Russian Orthodox Church played a role in their jailing in 2012 for a profanity-laced protest in Moscow's main cathedral.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; writing by Steve Gutterman; editing by Alissa de Carbonnel)

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