The two jailed members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were released on Monday. Denouncing Russia a “totalitarian” state, they vowed to reform it.

Maria Alyokhina, 25, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, were set free on Monday three months ahead of their scheduled release under a broad amnesty passed by the Russian Parliament to mark the 20th anniversary of the new Russian Constitution.

The young women were sentenced to two years in prison for performing a musical punk prayer in Russia’s main Christian Orthodox Church. Two weeks before Vladimir Putin reclaimed presidency in March 2012, they prayed to Virgin Mary to “throw Putin out” at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.

A third member of the punk group, Yekaterina Samutsevich, received a suspended sentence because she had not entered the sacred altar area of the church.

Alyokhina said she did not regret their stunt and would do it again.

“We would sing the song to the end. It should be listened to in its entirety, not just one verse," she told reporters.

Alyokhina denounced the amnesty as a “hoax and a PR move” to deflect criticism of Russia over human rights ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Tolokonnikova said she had realised in prison that the Russian penal system was “a scaled model of the Russian totalitarian state.”

Both girls said they would devote their time and effort to defending the rights of prisoners and reforming the penal colonies.

Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, pardoned by Mr Putin last week under a separate decree, made a similar pledge after his release, vowing to work to secure the release of all those wrongly convicted in Russia.

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