The two founding members of Pussy Riot, Nadia Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina, announced their departure from the punk activist group a few short days ago. They were set to appear at the Amnesty International Human Rights Benefit in New York, and an open letter was posted to the group's blog a few hours before the concert. The letter said that Nadia and Masha were no longer members, and that they hadn't communicated with the group since their release from prison in December.

Nadia and Masha have responded to the open letter, with Nadia saying that the letter "doesn't follow the ideology of Pussy Riot." She told the New York Times that "Pussy Riot can be anyone, and no one can [be] excluded from Pussy Riot, it can only grow." Tolokonnikova said that her and Masha are indeed still in contact with the members of Pussy Riot they performed with at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral and she hasn't a clue who wrote the letter. She went on to say that "What we’d like is for other people who have this same kind of microphone—this celebrity—to stand up, too."