Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Respond to Pussy Riot's Open Letter

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Respond to Pussy Riot's Open Letter

Last week, Russian punk activists Pussy Riot issued an open letter saying that long-incarcerated members Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova were no longer a part of the group. Now, the plot has thickened, as the duo have responded by questioning the legitimacy of the letter.

Speaking with The New York Times, the pair claimed to still be a part of the collective, at least in a general sense. According to Tolokonnikova, the letter "doesn't follow the ideology of Pussy Riot."

"Pussy Riot can be anyone, and no one can be excluded from Pussy Riot," she offered. "Pussy Riot can only grow."

The letter suggested that the pair had been out of touch with Pussy Riot since being released from jail late last year, but Tolokonnikova said," The people we performed with in Moscow, we're still in contact with." Making the situation even more confusing is that the letter was signed by six anonymous members: Garadja, Fara, Shaiba, Cat, Seraphima and Schumacher. That list of names apparently includes the same pseudonyms that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have used in the group. They don't know who wrote the letter.

That being said, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova are now activists under the own names, rather than strictly as part of an anonymous, balaclava-wearing group. They plan to advocate for prisoners' rights.