Pussy Riot member ‘happy I made it’ after fleeing Russia in disguise

World

Political activist and member of the Russian band Pussy Riot has reportedly fled the country disguised as food courier after criticising Vladimir Putin.

Maria Alyokhina and her fellow band members first came to the attention of the Russian authorities after staging a protest against the Russian president inside Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in 2012.

Despite being sentenced to two years in prison for their activism, the group continued to speak out against the Kremlin leader, with Ms Alyokhina remaining determined to fight Mr Putin’s system.

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After being released from prison, she continued her activism and set up a news outlet focused on crime and punishment in Russia, called Mediazona, with another member of the band.

In April, Russian authorities placed her under house arrest as they tried to stop those in the country who opposed their invasion of Ukraine.

The 33-year-old was then ordered to spend 21 days in a penal colony.

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However, the band leader managed to evade the Moscow police by disguising herself as a food courier and leaving her phone behind as a decoy.

She was then able to cross into Lithuania after seeking the help of an artist from Iceland who secured her travel documents.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 file photo members of the Russian radical feminist group chant a prayer against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, Russia. Five years after a Moscow court sent two members of the punk band Pussy Riot to prison, Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are using their ordeals in prison as creative inspiration.(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, file)
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In 2012, Pussy Riot held a protest in a Moscow cathedral

Comparing her story to a “spy novel”, Ms Alyokhina told The New York Times: “I was happy that I made it, because it was an unpredictable and big kiss-off to the Russian authorities.

“I still don’t understand completely what I’ve done.”

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Ms Alyokhina added: “I don’t think Russia has a right to exist anymore.

“Even before, there were questions about how it is united, by what values it is united, and where it is going. But now I don’t think that is a question anymore.”

In 2019, fellow bandmate Nadya Tolokonikova spoke to Sky News about her time in a prison camp and protests taking place in Russia.

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