Update as of 5:51 a.m. EST: Nadezhda Tolokonnikova followed bandmate Maria Alyokhina to freedom on Monday, as part of President Vladimir Putin's amnesty drive.

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Alyokhina, a member of the Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot who was released from prison on Monday as part of a bill signed into law by Putin last week, did not lose any time speaking up against the move and criticized it as nothing more than a public relations strategy.

Three members of the all-girl band were arrested early last year and sentenced to two years in prison in August 2012 on charges of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred," for performing a punk prayer in an area around the altar of Moscow's biggest church, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, as a protest against Putin and his policies. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, a second jailed member of the band, is expected to be freed later on Monday, local media reported. Yekaterina Samutsevich, 31, successfully appealed against her sentence and was released in October 2012.

"I don't think it's an amnesty, it's a profanation," 25-year-old Alyokhina told Dozhd TV, after her release from prison in Nizhny Novgorod. "I don't think the amnesty is a humanitarian act, I think it's a PR stunt… If I had a choice to refuse (the amnesty), I would," she said.

The band's protest last year came shortly after Putin’s reelection in the March presidential elections, and against the Orthodox Church's open support to Putin during the elections. The band also had performed impromptu dances, criticizing Putin, in public places.

According to an Associated Press report, Putin’s amnesty law frees prisoners “who haven't committed violent crimes, first-time offenders, minors and women with small children." Both Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have children.

The arrest and subsequent sentencing of Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova and Samutsevich triggered worldwide condemnation and uproar over Putin’s alleged repression of civic dissent, and raised the band members’ status to that of global stars fighting for a cause. 

Putin’s amnesty law will free as many as 25,000 people, including a group of 30 Greenpeace activists who were arrested for protesting against Russia’s drilling for oil in the Arctic, according to Deputy Speaker Vladimir Vasilyev who was quoted by Russia’s non-governmental Interfax news agency.

Critics of Putin say the bill, designed to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the country’s post-Soviet constitution, has helped the leader avert international criticism over the arrest of a number of high-profile political opponents and rebels, such as former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, ahead the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, in February.