Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Music

Pussy Riot’s Masha Alyokhina flees Russia as Vladimir Putin cracks down on dissidents

@TomTaylorFO

Pussy Riot’s Masha Alyokhina has successfully escaped Russia amid Vladimir Putin’s increasing crackdown on notable dissidents speaking out against his regime in the country. 

Pussy Riot began their public protests back in November 2011, but they immediately encountered issues with the authorities after they shot a protest video in a church and were charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”.

Two of the women would eventually serve 21 months in prison before an amnesty was approved. One of those women, Nadya Tolokonnikova recently spoke to the Guardian, saying, “If you fight with a dictator like Putin, you have to show them that you are willing to die—and I was.”

The other woman, Masha Alekhina, was jailed once more back in February for “extremist propaganda”. She has been jailed multiple times recently for short stints but was recently informed that her next sentence would be 21 days in a penal colony. 

Thus, fearing the worst she slipped out of her Moscow apartment which was being staked out by authorities disguised as a food courier. She left her phone behind to avoid being tracked, and with the help of Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson she successfully travelled to Vilnius, Lithuania.

“I still don’t understand completely what I’ve done,” Alyokhina told the Times. Adding: “A lot of magic happened last week. It sounds like a spy novel.”

Aside from the drama, it is a mark of the grave situation for many artists inside Russia who are using their platform to voice views that go against Putin. However, it is also hopefully a mark of the defiance of culture in the face of desperate times. 

You can read more about Pussy Riot by clicking here, and more about cultural humanitarian efforts in Ukraine by clicking here.

Follow Far Out Magazine across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.