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Russia's Medvedev plays 'good cop' on Pussy Riot

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On Tuesday Russian state TV aired a "documentary" film entitled "Provocateurs. Part 2" which claimed the brief "punk prayer" performed by Pussy Riot in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior last February was part of an international conspiracy financed by renegade Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, who currently lives in London.

Some experts say Medvedev, who has not shone in his new role as prime minister, may be trying to refurbish his liberal credentials amid Russia's fast polarizing political landscape in hopes that he may have a political future if Putin should be forced to leave the Kremlin early.

"Medvedev can't change anything for Pussy Riot, but he's taking care to position himself as a liberal," says Alexei Mukhin, director of the independent Center for Political Information in Moscow.

"After all, he's a former president, head of the United Russia party, and if Putin were to go away he could step up. He's taking care with his biography, to show that he can take a stand."

During his four year presidency Medvedev frequently expressed liberal positions, while taking care not to offend Putin. For example, he urged Russian law enforcement to reopen the cases of Anna Politkovskaya and other journalists who had been murdered in the line of work and he took the side of his human rights advisers in the controversial case of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky by admitting that some official crimes had taken place leading to his still unsolved prison death.

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