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Russia approves amnesty for Pussy Riot, Greenpeace

MOSCOW--Russian lawmakers on Wednesday approved a Kremlin-backed amnesty bill that is set to free the two jailed members of the punk band Pussy Riot while also ending the prosecution of 30 Greenpeace crew members.

Russia's Duma lower house of parliament voted 446 in favor to none against for the amnesty, which commemorates 20 years since Russia ratified its current constitution.

The bill, branded as just a token gesture by rights activists, can go into effect as early as Thursday and should also see several anti-Vladimir Putin protesters, jailed after a May 2012 rally, walk out of prison.

The amnesty affects a range of categories like mothers with dependents, minors and the elderly. However it also specifically mentions the charge of hooliganism as well as the charge of participating in mass riots.

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