Pussy Riot
Pussy Riot's Nadia Tolokonnikova  (Reuters)

The Russian parliament has passed a law that imposes jail terms for offending religious feelings in the wake of the Pussy Riot affair.

Moscow's Duma or lower house approved by 308 to 2 a Kremlin-backed bill that penalised "public actions expressing clear disrespect for society and committed with the goal of offending religious feelings of the faithful".

"This law is another growing pressure on Russian society and is aimed at intimidating civil and political activists," Andrey Sidelnikov, of the Speak Up! opposition movement, told IBTimes UK.

Offenders face up to one year in jail, a 500,000 ruble (£10,000) fine and forced labour. A longer term of three years can be imposed for "insulting religious feeling" in a place of worship.

Sidelnikov claimed the bill's loose terminology might result in abuse by the authorities.

"[People's] fate is left at the discretion of the investigating authorities," the activist said. "There is no clear understanding of what the actual offence is."

The bill needs to pass a vote in the upper house going to President Vladimir Putin for signature.

The law was proposed after members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot performed their anti-Putin "punk prayer" at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral.

The same package includes a ban on "gay propaganda" also approved by the Duma amid protests and scuffles.

Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Katarina Samutsevich, 30, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, were jailed for hooliganism following their musical performance.

Samutsevich's sentence was suspended in October. Her bandmates remain in jail.