The chants of "Free Pussy Riot" can now end. Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova have been freed from prison, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed during a press conference today, Reuters reports.

The two members were serving a two-year sentence for performing the protest song "Punk Prayer: Mother of God Drive Putin Away" in a Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow's main cathedral on February 21, 2012. In August the members were found guilty of "hooliganism motivated by religious hatred or hostility." The two women were convicted along with fellow Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevitch, who was let go last year on appeal.

Alyokhina went on a hunger strike in May, which lead to her being hospitalized. Tolokonnikova wrote an open letter explaining the horrid conditions of the prisoners and the human rights violations they were enduring. She disappeared for 21 days during a "routine transfer" and turned up in a Siberian prison hospital in mid-November.

They were due to be released in March but have been freed sooner under amnesty partly because they are both mothers of small children, according to the report. The new amnesty law provides that prisoners "who haven't committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children" are granted their freedom from imprisonment.

However, this amnesty was not drafted for the activists but rather to mark the 20th anniversary of Russia's post-Soviet constitution. Despite freeing the two women, Putin does not regret throwing them in prison even though it drew criticism from Western nations and a handful of global celebrities, including Paul McCartney, Madonna, Green Day, the Beastie Boys' Ad-Rock and more.

"I was not sorry that they (the Pussy Riot members) ended up behind bars," Putin said. "I was sorry that they were engaged in such disgraceful behaviour, which in my view was degrading to the dignity of women. They went beyond all boundaries."

Greenpeace protestors known as the Arctic 30 were also granted amnesty under the new law. It is rumored that the law was supported by Putin and a 446-0 passing vote in The State Duma in an attempt to make up for Russia's dirty human rights past before the world has its eyes on the country during February's Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The film Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer is on the Oscar's short list for Best Documentary.

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