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Pussy Riot Members Talk Activism During 'Today' Appearance (Video)

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina spoke alongside Tina Brown, who is featuring the band members at her Women in the World summit.

Pussy Riot on Today Screengrab - H 2014
NBC
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina

Gearing up for her annual Women in the World summit, Tina Brown appeared Thursday alongside the members of Russian activist band Pussy Riot on the Today show with Matt Lauer.

The veteran magazine editor articulated why Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina are "game changers," while the duo focused their attention on pointing out the ills of Russian penal colony system. 

"It wouldn't be for the people who really were saying everything they could about us to support us; things would be completely different," Alyokhina said through a translator. "And it might have been that we wouldn't be healthy and sane and alive."

STORY: Pussy Riot Members Mulling Hollywood Film Offers

The Pussy Riot members were released on December 23 last year. They were handed a two-year sentence following an August 2012 trial, after an anti-Putin performance in a cathedral.

"I really sincerely wanted Russia [that] would be free. This idea we heard about free Russia, it only became stronger in ourselves during [these] two years that we were in jail," said Tolokonnikova through a translator. "If our government thought that they [were going] to just break us down by jailing us, I mean, it didn't work out at all."

The two band members are set to appear at Brown's Women in the World summit on Friday for a panel discussion moderated by Charlie Rose

"They paid a heavy price for their resistance to Putin, and I think that what they've shown is exactly what is happening now: Putin is a thug, Putin is a bully," said Brown. "They were brave enough to stand up, they paid a price, and they went in as students and they came out as world-famous activists."