Freed Pussy Riot Members Weren't Fired From Pussy Riot

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: "Pussy Riot can be anyone, and no one can be excluded from Pussy Riot"

Pussy Riot Letter Membership Response Ideology
Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova say they're still in Pussy Riot Photo by David Andrako
Chris Martins WRITTEN BY
Chris Martins

Nadezhda "Nadia" Tolokonnikova and Maria "Masha" Alyokhina refute claims that they've been ousted from Pussy Riot. Last week, an open letter was posted to the Russian activist organization's blog criticizing various elements of the recently freed duo's Amnesty International performance and dubbing their newfound interest in prisoners' rights as off-message. "We have lost two friends, two ideological teammates," read the anonymous post from the "all-female separatist collective."

But in speaking to reporters on Sunday, February 9, the recent Colbert Report guests illustrated their vision for a more broadly defined collective: "Pussy Riot can be anyone, and no one can be excluded from Pussy Riot," Tolokonnikova said. "Pussy Riot can only grow." She said the letter, in fact, "doesn't follow the ideology of Pussy Riot," and affirmed that despite the claims therein, she and Alyokhina are still in touch with their Moscow "Punk Prayer" protest comrades.

Furthermore, the latter said that despite the pair's impressive international profile, their lives back home aren't much different from the days before their 2012 arrest. "We live the same way other people do in Russia," Alyokhina said, though the documentary Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, was short-listed for an Oscar. "We take the metro, we walk around. In terms of our everyday life, it's no different than it was before. Although we do get recognized occasionally."

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