Two members of Pussy Riot, the punk group that notoriously angered Russian President Vladimir Putin by performing anti-government songs in a church, have been working the media circuit in New York and putting our home-grown celebrities to shame. But Pussy Riot isn't having it, and frankly, it's their loss. 

In an open letter, six members of the group said Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 24, and Maria Alyokhina, 25, had become "institutionalized advocates of prisoners rights," and abandoned the group's "leftist anti-capitalist ideology." They said that Pussy Riot only performs illegal concerts, and that Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina should not have participated in an Amnesty International concert on Wednesday. The letter continues

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.

It seems like a pretty bone small to pick with the activists, who were both found guilty of hooliganism for performing as part of the collective in 2012 and were sent to jail.

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina each served nearly two years before they were released early thanks to a hastily-passed amnesty bill, in what the activists referred to as a publicity stunt designed to whitewash the country's poor human rights record. Now, the two are on a worldwide tour to spread awareness of Russian prison camps and other rights offenses and, frankly, they are killing it.

The two arrived in New York on Tuesday and have been charming the pants off of New York media ever since. On Tuesday night they appeared as guests on The Colbert Report, where Tolokonnikova went quip for quip against the pseudo-conservative host and Alyokhina, taking a more serious tone, discussed the country's harsh anti-LGBT laws. The two performed like pros, telling Colbert they didn't want their futures determined by a "man on a horse," and thanking the audience for their support, prompting Colbert to wonder if they knew the Russian word for "pander." The banter was hardly slowed by the presence of a translator.

On Wednesday, the pair spoke with the New York Times opinion team, which live-tweeted the conversation and published Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina's comments on why they're not afraid of prison, despite terrifying conditions, their political futures, and thoughts on art versus activism. According to The Times, their opinions are "why they're getting so much attention." 

That night, the two appeared at the concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they were introduced by Madonna. Madonna, who said she'd received death threats while on tour in Russia, was "upstaged" by the Pussy Riot members, according to The New York Post

Once the members of Pussy Riot joined her, they delivered an impassioned ten minute speech through an interpreter about their experiences and quoted the statements of other Russians facing prison terms for similar protests. “We have to remember that freedom is not a given,” Tolokonnikova said. “It’s something we have to fight for and stand for everyday. It is our duty to speak for those who are still behind bars.”

The pair also had a chance to speak with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. Power's spokesperson said they spoke about "the disturbing trend in (Russia) of legislation, prosecutions and government actions aimed at suppressing dissent and pressuring groups that advocate for fundamental human rights and basic government accountability." 

Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina are a rare breed for an American audience, which freaks out when celebrities spend hours in jail for doing things that are justly illegal. In their mid-twenties, the dedicated activists spoke out against Putin and were thrown in jail for it, spending several months under horrific conditions in prison (Tolokonnikova went on a hunger strike while in jail to call attention to how hard it is for incarcerated women, highlighting 16-17 hour workdays and a lack of medical services). Once freed, they immediately challenged Putin again, embarking on a world tour to sully his name and dare him to put them back in jail. They seem humble and thoughtful and honest, and they look cool and young and relatable. They both have children back home. 

If the pair manage to persuade the Kremlin to enact prison reform -- or any reform -- we hope Pussy Riot will take them back, and it sounds like they just might. In the letter they write that "we lost two friends, two ideological fellow member [sic], but the world has acquired two brave, interesting, controversial human rights defenders -- fighters for the rights of the Russian prisoners."