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New Russian video game takes aim at punk band riot

By Thomas Grove

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian Orthodox youth group unveiled a video game on Thursday that gives players a chance to "kill" members of the punk band Pussy Riot, whose profanity-laden protest in a Moscow cathedral last year angered the church and offended some believers.

Two women from Pussy Riot are serving two-year jail sentences for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for the "punk protest", which the head of the Russian Orthodox Church has called part of a campaign to curb its post-Soviet revival.

"You have to kill them with a cross before they get into the church, That's the point," said Boris Yakemenko, who organized a Russian Orthodox youth festival in central Moscow where the video game was on display.

"It's revolting," said Dmitry Litvinov, 22, said of the game as he got up from the table where the game was displayed on a flat-screen TV.

A legal representative of Pussy Riot declined to comment on the video game. Neither members of the band nor Russian Orthodox Church officials could immediately be reached for comment.

Players use a mouse to move a cross over the screen and zap colorful cartoon representations of the women from Pussy Riot - each with a balaclava like those worn by the band members in their protest - as they try to enter a white church.

When one of the brightly colored guitar-wielding band members gets there, a little red devil dances across the screen.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, Maria Alyokhina, 25, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, were sentenced to two years in prison last August for bursting into Christ the Savior Cathedral and belting out a song calling for the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin.

Samutsevich was freed on appeal.

Maria Voskresenskaya, who drew the cartoon figures for the game, suggested the members of Pussy Riot had opened themselves up to such treatment through their actions.

"We have problems in the church, we don't deny it, but that doesn't justify the actions of those girls - they made a mistake," said Voskresenskaya, 24.

She declined to say who came up with the idea for the game, which she said took two weeks to create.

(Editing by Steve Gutterman and Michael Roddy)

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