Pussy Riot protester in single cell after tensions with inmates

* Maria Alyokhina asked for move says penitentiary service

* Tension with cell mates "not over religious beliefs"

* Alyokhina serving two-year term over "punk prayer" against

Putin

MOSCOW, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Jailed Pussy Riot punk protester

Maria Alyokhina has been moved to a single cell at her own

request because of tensions with fellow prisoners, Russia's

federal penitentiary service said on Friday.

Alyokhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for carrying

out a raucous protest against President Vladimir Putin in

Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral. Activists said her

trial, alongside two other band-mates, was part of a crackdown

on dissent.

"Some tensions arose in relationships and, apparently, to

prevent this situation from escalating, she decided to submit a

request to the prison leadership and they moved her to a

one-person cell," a prison service spokeswoman said.

The spokeswoman dismissed Russian media reports that

Alyokhina had been caught up in religious arguments with fellow

prisoners. Pussy Riot's protest offended many members of

Russia's Orthodox Church.

The spokeswoman said she could not comment on a report on

the tabloid-style Life News website that Alyokhina had received

violent threats from cell mates at the Ural Mountains prison

about 1,150 km (715 miles) northeast of Moscow.

Alyokhina and her two band mates and were convicted in

August of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for their

"punk prayer", which the dominant Russian Orthodox Church has

cast as part of a concerted attack on the church and the

faithful.

The women said the protest, in which they burst into Christ

the Saviour Cathedral and called on the Virgin Mary to rid

Russia of Putin, was not motivated by hatred and was meant to

mock the church leadership's support for the longtime leader.

Putin, a former KGB officer who has cultivated close ties

with the church over 13 years in power, has rejected criticism

from the United States and European leaders who called the

two-year sentences disproportionate.

Alyokhina, who has a young son, argued with the judge and

cross-examined witnesses during her trial.

Her band mate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, is serving her

sentence in a different prison. Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, was

freed last month when a court suspended her sentence on appeal.

(Additional reporting By Ludmila Danilova; Writing by Nastassia

Astrasheuskaya; Editing by Andrew Heavens)