Russian official targets Madonna with crude tweet
By Gleb Bryanski
MOSCOW (Reuters) - A senior ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin used an obscene Twitter post to attack Madonna on Friday after the pop star called for the release of three women who face prison over an irreverent performance in Moscow's main cathedral.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, a nationalist politician and former envoy to NATO, posted the tweet after Madonna told a Moscow concert audience the jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot were "courageous" and deserved to be free.
"Every ex-wh*re tends to lecture everybody with age. Especially during world tours and concerts," Rogozin, who now leads Russia's drive to upgrade the army and defense industry, wrote in a tweet in English.
The microblog posting was a crudely worded echo of frequent warnings by Russian officials that Moscow will not accept Western "preaching" on human rights and democracy, a message Putin has repeatedly delivered during 12 years in power.
Madonna, who is American, donned a balaclava like those worn by Pussy Riot performers during her concert in Moscow on Tuesday night and was cheered loudly when she offered her support.
Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, stormed the altar of Russia's main cathedral on February 21 and sang a "punk prayer" calling on the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Putin, who was then campaigning to return to the presidency after four years as prime minister.
Prosecutors want a judge to sentence them to three years in prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.
They have been in jail since shortly after their performance, which offended many in mostly Orthodox Christian Russia, and Kremlin critics see their trial as part of a crackdown on dissent as Putin starts a new six-year term. Continued...