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Pussy Riot Band Kicks Out Russian Rebels Alyokhina, Tolokonnikov

Image: Pussy Riot Band Kicks Out Russian Rebels Alyokhina, Tolokonnikov Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, left, and Maria Alyokhina

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 08:24 AM

By Clyde Hughes

Just as the world began to identify Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova as the faces of the Russian rebel punk rock band Pussy Riot, the other members of the band have announced that the women are no longer members.

Charging that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have forgotten about the "aspirations and ideals of our group," six members of Pussy Riot signed an open letter, posted on the group's blog, stating that women are no longer welcomed in the band, reported the BBC News.

"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 six Pussy Riot members said in their letter.

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Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova spent 16 months in prison after the band sang a protest song in a Moscow cathedral in 2012 but were freed in December after an international outcry and the approach of the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

According to BBC News, while the other six Pussy Riot members went on to praise Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, they also blamed them for the reported separation.

"Yes, we lost two friends, two ideological fellow member(s), but the world has acquired two brave, interesting, controversial human rights defenders – fighters for the rights of the Russian prisoners," stated the letter. "Unfortunately, we cannot congratulate them with this in person, because they refuse to have any contact with us."

Madonna introduced Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova Wednesday at an Amnesty International concert at the Barclays Center in New York, reported Agence France-Presse with the pop icon hailing them as heroes.

"It's time for the rest of the world to be as brave as Pussy Riot and to stand up against people like (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin and other leaders and other organizations that do not respect human rights and perpetuate discrimination and injustice," Madonna told the cheering audience in her introduction.

"We will not forgive and we will not forget what the regime is doing to our fellow citizens. We demand a Russia that is free," Tolokonnikova told the crowd. "Now Russia will be free."

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