The true spirit of punk has been inexplicably reborn in the (literal) trials and tribulations of Russian band Pussy Riot and their recent protests against President Vladimir Putin at a Moscow cathedral.

Four of the feminist punk band’s members staged a performance/protest at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in February, Pussy Riot’s protest was directed at the Orthodox Church leaders’ support of the Russian president, who two weeks after the event was re-elected for a third term.

Once footage of the event surfaced online, three members of the band were arrested and charged with hooliganism, now, the sentence has been handed.

BBC News reports that a Moscow judge found the three Pussy Riot members – Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29 – guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.

Judge Marina Syrova said the trio had “crudely undermined social order” when sentencing them to two years imprisonment.

However, despite opinion polls in Russia showing little support for the women’s actions, resistance to the jail sentencing has already surfaced from both local groups, as well as international human rights groups.

The Russian Orthodox Church for one, who were the target of the women’s protest, agreed that it was an act of “blasphemy”, but also appealed for clemency for the Pussy Riot members.

Releasing a statement that read: “Without doubting the legitimacy of the court ruling, we ask the state authorities to show mercy for the convicted within the framework of the law in the hopes that they will refrain from repeating their sacrilegious acts.”

Even President Putin reasoned that the defendants should not be judged “too harshly” but refused to interfere with the judicial system when asked about the final sentencing.

The two year imprisonment has also been condemned by international bodies as being disproportionate, with the US criticising the verdict with Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the White House said the US had “serious concerns about the way that these young women have been treated by the Russian judicial system.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International reasons that the sentencing must be overturned after strongly condemning the court’s decision, saying it showed “that the Russian authorities will stop at no end to suppress dissent and stifle civil society.”

Across the pond, the chief of EU foreign policy Catherine Ashton commented on the sentencing as calling into question Moscow’s “obligations of fair, transparent and independent legal process.”

The sentences were deemed “excessively harsh” in the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the verdict “calls into question Russia’s commitment to protect these fundamental rights and freedoms.”

It’s not just politicians who have spoken out against the Russian judicial system, with the music world stepping up to support the punk band.

Forthcoming Big Day Out headliners, Red Hot Chili Peppers showed their support when frontman Anthony Kiedis wore a Pussy Riot t-shirt at a recent show in Moscow; while Bjork took a recent show in Finland as an opportunity to dedicate her electro-political tune ‘Declare Independence’ to the detained women of Pussy Riot. 

In the lead up to the trial, music provocateur Peaches launched a campaign calling for the Russian musician’s release. Enlisting the aid of Kate Nash, the Knife, Scissor Sisters and Peter Bjorn & John for a downloadable song, video and petition, Peaches and collaborator Simonne Jones released ‘Free Pussy Riot’ online.

Legendary Beatles bassist, Paul McCartney penned an open letter to the detained women supporting their actions and “the principle of free speech.” Madonna wrote a similar statement on her website, the singer – who sported a Pussy Riot balaclava at a recent Russian concert – also threw her support behind the defendants and slammed the verdict as “too harsh” and “inhumane.”

Closer to home, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a small group of Sydney musicians who had joined the movement in supporting the all-girl punk group. Occupying Sydney’s Oxford Street with a display of drummers donning the trademark Pussy Riot coloured balaclavas.

The Sydney supporters join a number of intensified vocal protests that have been held worldwide in support of the convicted band members in a number of cities worldwide, including Belgrade, Kiev, Berlin, Sofia, London, Dublin, Barcelona and New York.

You can listen to Peaches’ newly-minted ‘Free Pussy Riot’ protest song below: