Pussy Riot Members Meet NYC Mayor, Get Kicked Out Of Their Band

Pussy Riot met with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio during the controversial Russian punk band’s diplomatic trip to the Big Apple — but the trip may have cost them a spot in the band.

The NYC mayor welcomed Pussy Riot members Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to City Hall on Friday. The meeting, which also included de Blasio’s wife Chirlane McCray, lasted for close to 30 minutes. A spokesperson for the mayor said he commended their “bravery and courage” during their Russian imprisonment.

The members of the band, an all-woman punk outfit, were jailed for close to two years after staging a protest in a Russian church. While imprisoned, members of Pussy Riot found support among many human rights organizations as well as musicians like Madonna.

Aside from meeting the NYC mayor, Pussy Riot members also met with U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Powers during the weeklong trip.

During the visit Powers commended the band members for their bravery and collected information about Russia’s alleged human rights violations.

But as the two band members were visiting the United States and speaking on behalf of the imprisonment they faced, back home in Russia the other bandmates were voting to kick them out.

The BBC reported that six members of Pussy Riot signed an open letter on the band’s blog this week cutting ties with Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, saying that the two had strayed from the “ideals of our group — feminism, separatist resistance, fight against authoritarianism and personality cult.”

The band members were upset about the pair’s recent appearance at an Amnesty International benefit concert, which goes against the band’s underground ideals.

“Our performances are always ‘illegal,’ ” the blog stated, “staged only in unpredictable locations and public places not designed for traditional entertainment.”

Even after they were kicked out of the band, the pair continued to meet with representatives including Powers and the NYC mayor de Blasio, saying “anyone can be Pussy Riot.”