February 6, 2014 17:14

Pussy Riot members say that Masha Alyokhina and Nadia Tolokonnikova have 'forgotten our ideals'

Anonymous letter discusses duo's departure from activist group

Pussy Riot members say that Masha Alyokhina and Nadia Tolokonnikova have 'forgotten our ideals'

Photo: Getty

Pussy Riot members have claimed that former members Masha Alyokhina and Nadia Tolokonnikova have forgotten the band's "ideals".

In an anonymous and open letter published on their Livejournal page, the remaining members of the activist group discussed the duo's departure to focus on prison reform and human rights abuse. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova started the non-governmental human rights group Zona Prava (Justice Zone) after being released from prison last year.

The letter says: "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 — feminism, separatist resistance, fight against authoritarianism and personality cult, all of which, as a matter of fact, was the cause for their unjust punishment."

The statement – which also suggests that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have ignored their attempts to communicate – also expressed frustration with the way the pair were presented at last night's Amnesty International concert in New York and the way they are still presented as members of Pussy Riot, stating: "The poster of the [Amnesty International] event showed a man in a balaclava with electric guitar, under the name of Pussy Riot, while the organizers smartly called for people to buy expensive tickets."

It concludes: "The mixing of the rebel feminist punk image with the image of institutionalised defenders of prisoners' rights, is harmful for us as collective, as well as it is harmful for the new role that Nadia and Masha have taken on." They did add that they wished their former bandmates good luck in the future, however, declaring: "Yes, we lost two friends, two ideological fellow members, 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."

The former members of Pussy Riot were introduced onstage by Madonna at last night's Amnesty International concert. They spoke forcefully through their translator against authoritarian political imprisonment, reading quotes from the closing statements of several recently accused Russians currently on trial for protesting against rigged elections in Moscow, and also called for Russia to oust President Vladmir Putin.

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