He may technically be Russia's second most powerful official, but he's no get-out-of-jail free card: For the second time, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for Pussy Riot's release on Friday, saying the female punk rockers have served enough time already. "If I was a judge I wouldn't have sent them to prison," he told Russian news agency RIA Novosti. "Just because I don't consider it correct that their punishment was in the form of a custodial sentence. They'd already been [in pre-trial detention], and that was enough."

As you might recall, Medvedev made similar remarks in October before the group's appeal hearing on hooliganism charges, which triggered speculation of an impending release. Unfortunately for band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina, the appeals were rejected and they were sent to a prison camp in Mordovia, a region famous for its Gulags in the 1930s. (The third bandmate, Yekaterina Samutsevich, won her appeal.)  Now nobody holds any hope that the effete prime minister's support for the group will hold any sway. "Medvedev's latest comment is unlikely to take effect, since he is widely seen as a liberal yet nominal government figure whose pledges and orders are seldom followed through on," reports the AP's Laura Mills. 

Also, don't get any funny ideas about Medvedev: He's not a fan of the band's Riot Grrl attitude. "These are unpleasant figures, both on the outside and on the inside," he said of the jailed bandmates. "They provoke extremely negative emotions in me, so unpleasant that I don't even like to talk about it." Meanwhile, back in the States, Pussy Riot's support seems stronger than ever. This week, Comedy Central's South Park devoted part of its show to the group, featuring its Jesus character ripping open his robe to expose a T-shirt bearing the words "Free Pussy Riot." Clearly, Medvedev is no Trey Parker.