Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said he backed proposals for an amnesty for thousands of prisoners who, according to his rights advisor, could include ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the Pussy Riot punks.

"I agree... that such actions must be pacifying, must emphasise the humanity of our state," Putin said in televised comments.

The amnesty could free up to 100,000 prisoners, said Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the presidential rights council, an independent advisory body, cited by RIA Novosti news agency.

Fedotov told journalists the amnesty could apply to former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the two jailed members of punk band Pussy Riot, who held a protest against Putin in a Moscow cathedral.

"I think that yes of course," Fedotov said, when asked if it could apply to Pussy Riot. "After all that was not a violent crime."

As for Khodorkovsky, Fedotov said: "I think so, yes."

Khodorkovsky is set to be freed in August 2014 after spending more than a decade in jail on fraud and tax evasion charges, while Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokyhina are due to be released from penal colonies in March.

However Putin said the amnesty must not apply to those charged with violence against officials, which excludes dozens of protesters charged over crowd violence in May 2012 after his reelection as president.

"I want to say that this amnesty can only apply to those who did not commit serious crimes and crimes involving violence against officials, of course that's mainly law enforcement officials," Putin told rights advisors who are proposing the amnesty.

"I will take this as the starting point and will wait for a final document prepared by you together with the parliament," Putin added.

The amnesty is intended to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Russia's constitution this year. The lower house of parliament is set to examine a draft proposal before the end of the year.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that "the president took the decision that he himself would submit the draft bill on the amnesty", RIA Novosti reported.

Russia has one of the largest prison populations of any country. As of November its prisons held 681,050 inmates.

The Soviet Union held a mass amnesty of around 1.2 million prisoners, both common criminals and political prisoners, after the death of Stalin in 1953.

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  • Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the feminist punk band, Pussy Riot, listens from behind bars at a district court in Saransk on Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • Jailed feminist punk band Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina appears on a TV screen during a live session with the court during a hearing of her appeal in a courtroom in Perm, 1200 kms (750 miles) east of Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, July 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Alexander Agafonov)

  • A Russian punk band Pussy Riot member, who gave only her stage name of Grelka, wearing a blue balaclava, speaks to the media in Moscow, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

  • An Amnesty International member holds a hand knitted Pussy Riot fan scarf to support the members of the Russian punk band, in Brussels on Sunday Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

  • In this Aug. 17, 2012 file photo, feminist punk group Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sits in a glass enclosure at a court in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze, File)

  • Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the feminist punk band, Pussy Riot, listens from behind bars at a district court in Saransk on Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP Photo)

  • Member of the Pussy Riot punk band Yekaterina Samutsevich, in front of the Christ the Savior Cathedral, a year after their performance, in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

  • In this Friday, April 26, 2013 file photo, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, listens from behind bars at a district court in Zubova Polyana, 440 kilometers (273 miles) southeast of Moscow, in Russia's province of Mordovia. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel, file)

  • Headlights (L) and Puck (R) from 'Pussy Riot' speak at 'Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer' at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

  • Amnesty International members hold their hand knitted Pussy Riot fan scarfs to support the members of the Russian punk band, in Brussels on Sunday Feb. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

  • In this Feb. 21, 2012 file photo, members of the Russian radical feminist group Pussy Riot try to perform at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)

  • Member of the Pussy Riot punk band Yekaterina Samutsevich smiles as she attends a session at the Moscow City Court where she is appealing to overturn a court's decision to ban the video of the band's "punk prayer" in Moscow's main cathedral as "extremist", Russia, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

  • In this Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, jailed feminist punk band Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina in a court room in the town of Berezniki, some 1500 km (940 miles) north-east of Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Agafonov, File)

  • Jailed feminist punk band Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina is seen in a cell at a court room in the town of Berezniki, some 1500 km (940 miles) north-east of Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Alexander Agafonov)

  • Jailed feminist punk band Pussy Riot member Maria Alekhina, center, is escorted to a court room in the town of Berezniki, some 1500 km (940 miles) north-east of Moscow, Russia, on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Alexander Agafonov)

  • Headlights from 'Pussy Riot' speaks at the Q & A of 'Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer' at Landmark's Sunshine Cinema on June 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)