After a spectacular escape from Russia: Pussy Riot activists give concerts in Kassel and Lich | hessenschau.de

Disguised as a food delivery girl, Maria Alyokhina managed to escape from Russia. Today, the anti-Kremlin activist is touring Europe with her band Pussy Riot. Two concerts are also planned in Hesse.

With masks on their heads and colorful clothes, Pussy Riot activists stormed into a Moscow church to demonstrate at the altar against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The images went around the world and made the members of the punk band famous overnight.

It was ten years ago. But the reason for the protest still stands, singer Maria Aljochina told RBB. There will be no freedom under President Putin. Therefore, she will continue to protest against the Russian regime with Pussy Riot – and fight against its crimes like the war in Ukraine.

The Kremlin-critical punk band is currently touring across Europe. After a concert in Berlin this Thursday, appearances on May 14 at the Theaterstübchen in Kassel and on May 24 at the Traumstern cinema in Lich (Giessen) are on the program.

Escape via Belarus and Lithuania

In order to be able to play the tour planned a year ago, Maria Alyokhina, 33, had to flee Russia herself. With the help of friends, she came to Lithuania via Belarus, as she reported to The New York Times and several radio stations.


Maria Alyokhina stands on a stage with Mikron.

In order to escape her guards in Moscow, she disguised herself as a food delivery girl. In April, she decided to leave Russia. The police announced that they would transform his house arrest into 21 days in a prison camp. An acquaintance brought her to the Belarusian border in a car and reached Lithuania after about a week.

She was turned back twice by Belarusian border guards, but it worked the third time. An unnamed European country issued him a travel document which gave him a status similar to that of an EU citizen. This document was smuggled into Belarus. Still, she hopes to be able to return to Russia at some point.

Arrested after a protest action in 2012

Alyokhina was sentenced to two years in a prison camp after her 2012 church protest performance with bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. At the end of 2013, they were pardoned and released. However, Alyokhina has been repeatedly targeted by Russian law enforcement, for example in protests for imprisoned Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny.

The Pussy Riot group does not have a permanent line-up, but changing members, as activists in Russia are repeatedly arrested or placed under house arrest. The group stages punk rock performances in unusual places. Activists demand more rights for women and the LGBTQ community and protest against Russian clergy and President Putin with artistic and musical performances. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are concerned about the legality of their arrests.

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