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Pussy Riot disowns freed members

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Six members of the Russian punk group, Pussy Riot, have issued an open letter proclaiming that freed members, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, are no longer members of the band.

The statement was issued by the remaining members of the group, Garadja, Fara, Shaiba, Cat, Seraphima and Schumacher, who wish to stay anonymous.

In the statement, the remaining members said that the group belonged to a, "leftist anti-capitalist ideology." They stated that the two, known as Masha (Alyokhina) and Nadia (Tolokonnikova), had forgotten about the, "aspirations and ideals of our group."

The pair appeared at the Amnesty International concert in New York City on Wednesday, February 5.

They were arrested after performing an anti-Putin protest song in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior in 2012. They were jailed for two years, but were released early by Vladimir Putin's public relations moves preceding the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The group's statement read, "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 continued saying that although the pair had repeatedly stressed they were no longer members, the public announcement in New York before their speech spoke of "the first legal performance of Pussy Riot."

The band members did acknowledge and praise the late members' new cause.

"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."

They added that they could not congratulate the pair in person because they, "refuse to have any contact with us."

The band formed in 2011, but were little noticed until their Moscow performance earned them an appearance in court and a two-year sentence to hard labor. The group had received international attention, including the support of many of music's top-tier performers.

Band member, Yekaterina Samutsevich, was also convicted, but was freed on probation.

Both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova are mothers of young children. All of their appeals were turned down and the pair served time in the tough conditions inside Russia's prisons. Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike after complaining of abuses by prison staff.

After being released, Alyokhina expressed admiration for the protesters in the Ukraine saying that both women hope that it creates an infectious spirit in Russia.

Tolokonnikova told the New York Times, "The situation in Russia has gotten so much worse. If we couldn't keep quiet about it then, then we certainly won't keep quiet about it now."

Both women are part of an international tour for Amnesty International.

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