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Madonna took a strong stance against censorship in media statements she made in advance of her Russian shows. "I'm against censorship, and my whole career I've always promoted freedom of expression, freedom of speech," she said. "So obviously, I think what's happening to them [Pussy Riot] is unfair. And I hope that they do not have to serve seven years in jail, that would be a tragedy."
"I think art should be political," she added. "I think art through history, historically speaking, art always reflects what's going on socially. So for me it's hard to separate the idea of being an artist and being political."
In the wake of Madonna's statement, the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a joint "Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Madonna Concerts." The statement reads as follows:
"This is to alert U.S. citizens in Russia who are planning to attend the Madonna concerts in Moscow on Tuesday, August 7, or in St. Petersburg on Thursday, August 9, that the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg has received information regarding a threat of physical violence against spectators and performers at the St. Petersburg concert on August 9."
U.S. officials "have shared the information with appropriate Russian law enforcement authorities."
The statement also added that Russian authorities "are taking appropriate measures in light of this information" and "expect that enhanced security measures will be put in place" for both concerts."
Pussy Riot are currently in jail facing charges of hooliganism based on them performing an anti-Vladmir Putin song in a Russian church. The trial of the three musicians in Pussy Riot -- Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich -- continues with speculation that a possible verdict could come down by week's end.
As reported earlier on Spinner, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Franz Ferdinand, Kate Nash and others have voiced support for the band. Additionally, yesterday Peaches announced she would write a "Free Pussy Riot" song today while requesting fans send in videos or attend a gathering in Berlin later this week to create a video for the song.
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