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Jailed band members: We never left Pussy Riot

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Jailed band members: We never left Pussy Riot
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (l) Maria Alyokhina (r) gave a press conference in Berlin on Monday. Photo: DPA
07:38 CET+01:00
Two women jailed in Russia for a Pussy Riot performance gave a press conference on Monday in Berlin. They said they were still part of the protest punk group despite being ejected by other members.

"We never left Pussy Riot," Nadezhda Tolokonnikova said at a news conference with Maria Alyokhina in the capital, where they were due to attend a Cinema for Peace evening gala, on the sidelines of the Berlinale film festival.

Tolokonnikova, 24, and Alyokhina, 25, were freed from Russian penal colonies in December, three months before the end of their two-year sentences for staging an anti-President Vladimir Putin "punk prayer" performance in a Moscow cathedral.

Last week six Pussy Riot members accused the two women of undermining the group's ideals by appearing at a charity concert introduced by Madonna in New York.

A letter signed under pseudonyms by six women presenting themselves as band members said Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova should no longer be considered part of the group.

The letter posted on the group's blog complained that selling concert tickets contradicts the principles of Pussy Riot.

"I don't know who they are, these people who claim to be from Pussy Riot and write on social networks,"  Tolokonnikova told reporters through an interpreter in the German capital.

But she added that the claim "undermines" the ideology of Pussy Riot because its very ideology was that anyone can be a member.

On their release the two women said they would focus on campaigning for the rights of prisoners.

READ MORE: Merkel to Putin - Pussy Riot jail sentence unfair

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