Pussy Riot's most famous members have left the band

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are Pussy Riot no more, the group says

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Pussy Riot

They appeared on The Colbert Report, fronted the cover of POP, derailed an Irish TV chatshow – and now, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are no longer part of Pussy Riot

In a statement posted on the Russian protest group's blog and signed by four anonymous representatives, Pussy Riot have stated that Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina should not be considered part of the punk band that skyrocketed them to fame and landed them in jail.

"They have said in every interview that they have quit the group and no longer represent Pussy Riot," the letter says. "But all of their appearances are announced as appearances by Pussy Riot... They are no longer Pussy Riot."

The group notes that Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina have refused to communicate with them since their release. According to the letter, "the apotheosis of this misunderstanding" occurred when Pussy Riot realised that the two were due to appear at yesterday's Amnesty International gig introduced by Madonna. 

The letter attacks the charity event, which was ticketed. "We are all-female separatist collective," it declares. "We charge no fees for viewing our art-work, all our videos are distributed freely on the web, the spectators to our performances are always spontaneous passers by, and we never sell tickets to our 'shows'."

It wouldn't be the first time an activist group has fallen out with its members over ideological differences. Anybody who was part of Occupy will remember the fallout as members drifted apart, some to set up initiatives deemed to be counterproductive (Occupy credit card, anyone?) to the original ideals of the movement.

Pussy Riot's response seems almost inevitable, given Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's mini-media blitz in the lead-up to the Sochi Olympics. Everything about Pussy Riot is opposed to the very ideas of outspoken representatives, PR-friendly interviews and profile pieces in the New York Times – balaclavas are great for hiding from Putin's police, but they're not so good when you're making Putin jokes on The Colbert Report. 

Pussy Riot state that they are supportive of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's campaigning. "Yes, we lost two friends, two ideological fellow members," it reads, "but the world has acquired two brave, interesting, controversial human rights defenders. We appreciate their choice and sincerely wish them well in their new career."

Here's the video of Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's speech at the Amnesty gig, made through a translator:

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