Since the three members of Pussy Riot were arrested, tried and convicted, Pyotr Verzilov, husband of Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova has given extensive interviews on behalf of the feminist punk collective with all media, including ANIMAL. In a hand-written letter, Nadya is making it official — Verzilov does not speak for Pussy Riot and she’s “outraged” with his actions.

While Yekaterina “Katya” Samutsevich has been freed at the appeal after changing her legal strategy, Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina are about to serve out their two-year sentence for dancing in a church in separate penal work colonies. Meanwhile, with the arrival of Nadya’s letter, Verzilov  won’t be giving any more “illegitimate” interviews.

“After our arrest, Pyotr Verzilov seized representation and decision-making of Pussy Riot, which he could not do according to the group’s ideology… The only person who can legitimately represent the group is a girl in a balaclava.”

That’s a devastating line. With very few exceptions – GQ FTW! – Verzilov has been the face (sans balaclava) of Pussy Riot.

Russian-language sites go into more detail:

“His statements are lies. Lies in order to gain status of a founding and legal representative of Pussy Riot, which he isn’t. In essence, Petr Verzilov, strangely quasi-conned and occupied the work of Pussy Riot. As a representative of the group, I am outraged.”

Nadya explains that letting Verzilov take charge of all the promotional/organizational/legal affairs of Pussy Riot is not in accordance with the punk, feminist, anti-hierarchy, anonymous ideology of the group.

When ANIMAL attended a conference with Pussy Riot’s three lawyers (at the time) at NYU, Verzilov popped in for a spell. Verzilov chuckled about Nadya ribbing him for going on a world tour while she awaits her sentence in a Moscow jail cell. The crowd laughed. Then, he ducked out to with their little daughter to collect a $50,000 peace prize on behalf of Pussy Riot from Yoko Ono.

If nothing, Verzilov has always struck us as a passionate, crafty media genius. Surely, he has done immense work for making Pussy Riot famous, with an endless stream of celebrities from Madonna to Patti Smith speaking out in support of the “punk rock band”/performance troupe. What would have happened to Pussy Riot if he hadn’t help make an international fuss? The original sentence for “hooliganism with the intent to incite religious hatred was seven years. And yet, we’re speaking in theoretics here and… there’s litte transparency about the funds collected. And yet, sure, he’s an ace strategist!

After all, he is still identified by the press as a member of Voina, even though the tumultuous his Moscow chapter and the founding St Petersburg chapter of Russia’s most notorious performance art group has been semi-public. Oh, how we’ve tried to investigate it.

Long after the “museum orgy” action with Pyotr, Nadia and the current members of the St Petersburg chapter, way into the feud, actions performed by Pyotr (Voina’s trial protest) and Nadia (the forced cop kiss) were reported as Voina actions, and later recanted by other Voina members.

Freed Pussy Riot activist Katya had no idea: “To be honest I’m surprised,” she said. “When I talked to the girls in the prison van… we did not once discuss Petya Verzilov nor the problem of someone ‘occupying’ the group’s activities. Nothing like that.”

In any case, the legal prospects of the remaining two jailed Pussy Riot members are dim, despite more promises to appeal and Katya incantations of the feminist group’s enduring unity and loyalty. Maybe, at this point, in their prison cells, there’s no room left for compromise.