Have Nadia Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina Left Pussy Riot?

pussy15 Have Nadia Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina Left Pussy Riot?

Since being granted freedom from Russian prison in late December, Nadezhda¬†Tolokonnikova and Maria¬†Alyokhina (known as Nadia and Masha) of Pussy Riot have been on an international media tour with a new refocused activism toward prison reform. They recently appeared on the Colbert Report to talk politics (and joke about Putin) and, last night, they gave the keynote speech at Amnesty International’s Bring Human Rights Home concert where they were essentially the stars of the show.

But their newfound notoriety and travel abroad has apparently caused a deep rift between the two and Pussy Riot. Just before their appearance at the Barclays Center, the rest of the all-women band Pussy Riot posted an anonymous open letter on Livejournal concerning the status of Nadia and Masha which suggested they are no longer active members of the group. Excerpts of the letter have been translated from Russian:

We are very pleased with Masha’s and Nadia’s release. We are proud of their resistance against harsh trials that fell to their lot, and their determination by all means to continue the struggle that they had started during their stay in the colonies.

Unfortunately for us, they are being so carried away with the¬†problems in Russian prisons, that they completely forgot about the¬†aspirations and ideals of our group‚ÄĒfeminism, separatist¬†resistance, fight against authoritarianism and personality cult, all¬†of which, as a matter of fact, was the cause for their unjust¬†punishment.

“Yes, we lost two friends, two ideological fellow members. But the world has acquired two brave, interesting, controversial human rights defenders.

The letter goes on to claim that Nadia and Masha have refused all contact with their former members, and that they no longer want to have the Pussy Riot name associated with Nadia and Masha’s individual names in the media in the future. Read the full letter here.

As Pitchfork notes, both Nadia and Masha have recently alluded to having moved on from Pussy Riot but will never give up playing music. But it does appear that they’ll have to go it alone.

Watch video of their appearance and introduction by Madonna at Amnesty International’s concert below.

(P4K)