(Russian punk band Pussy Riot members Maria Alyokhina (L) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (2nd L) along with a masked member speak to journalists during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, in Adler February 20, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)

Two women from Russia’s Pussy Riot protest group who were jailed for a song deriding President Vladimir Putin were cleared in a Moscow court on Friday of inciting religious hatred.

But the court knocked only one month off their two-year sentences, upholding a charge of hooliganism.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova spent nearly two years in prison after performing a protest song against Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral in 2012.

Many in the West criticized the harshness of the sentence, saying it was evidence of a clamp-down on dissent.