Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina Escapes Russia Dressed as a Food Courier

"I don't think Russia has a right to exist anymore"

Photo: re:publica

BY Allie GregoryPublished May 11, 2022

Amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina was already on effective house arrest stemming from charges aimed at suppressing her political activism. So when authorities announced that the rest of her sentence would be fulfilled in prison, she decided to leave the country "like a spy novel," The New York Times reports.

Disguised in a food courier uniform and leaving her phone behind so she couldn't be tracked by police who were already staking her out, Alyokhina fled her country to Belarus, and later to Lithuania.

Alyokhina detailed NYT the long and arduous process of leaving after having her Russian passport confiscated. On her first attempt to leave, she was held by Belarusian border guards for six hours, and was later placed on Russia's "wanted" list. It took three tries to get through to Lithuania, where she met up with friends, one of whom reportedly convinced an unnamed to country issue the artist a "travel document that essentially gave her the same status as an E.U. citizen."

"I was happy that I made it, because it was an unpredictable and big" kiss-off to the Russian authorities, Alyokhina told NYT, apparently using a "less polite term."

"I still don't understand completely what I've done," she added.

As for the musician's ongoing political crusade against Russia and its leaders, Alyokhina remains opposed to Putin and her home country. "I don't think Russia has a right to exist anymore," she said. "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."

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