See Madonna Colorfully Introduce Pussy Riot Members in Brooklyn

Meanwhile, other Pussy Riot members criticize the Amnesty International event

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Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

Pussy Riot's message has been amplified by American pop music figures since not long after three members of the Russian punk protest group were arrested two years ago for staging an event in a Moscow cathedral. They got maybe their biggest signal boost yet last night, as Madonna introduced recently freed members Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina during Amnesty International's Bringing Human Rights Home concert at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The Flaming Lips, Ms. Lauryn Hill, and Imagine Dragons led the performers.

The Material Girl, dressed like an A$AP Mob member with Commes Des Fuckdown beanie and cane after her Western-themed Grammy and MTV Unplugged appearances, talked about her experience with anti-gay laws while on tour in Russia; she began by thanking the group for making "Pussy" acceptable household vocabulary, and ended by saying, "One more time for Nadya and Masha, hell-mother-fucking yeah!" Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, fresh off a must-watch interview on The Colbert Report, stepped up their criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin as he gets set for the Sochi Winter Olympics. "We demand a Russia that is free and a Russia without Putin," Tolokonnikova said, through a translator. The crowd chanted: "Russia will be free!"

Meanwhile, six members of Pussy Riot have criticized the Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina for contradicting the group's principles by taking the stage with Madonna. As AFP reports, a letter on the blog for Pussy Riot — whose membership changes and isn't fully known — said the group's performances should only be free, illegal, and by surprise in unlikely public spaces. "They are no longer Pussy Riot," the letter said of the pair. "We have lost two friends, two ideological teammates, but the world has gained two brave rights activists."

At the same time, Pussy Riot have also provoked something of an international incident. According to Reuters, Moscow's United Nations envoy mocked U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power for meeting with the freed Pussy Riot members. Asked about Powers' talk with Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin reportedly said: "She has not joined the band?"

Watch video of Madonna's introduction above via MyMDNA, and skip to around the nine-minute mark of the video below to hear (and, from a distance, see) the Pussy Riot members' Brooklyn speech, which is follow by an announcer presenting ... Imagine Dragons.

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