Pussy Riot frontman escapes Russia disguised as a food delivery man

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Maria Alyokhina, leader of the punk band Pussy Riot, left Russia on Tuesday, she says in an interview with The New York Times† The 33-year-old activist was under police surveillance but managed to get away disguised as a meal courier. She reached Lithuania via Belarus, with the help of friends and a European country.

Alyokhina had been arrested in February and then placed under surveillance. It was yet another action by the Russian government against a member of the group who is extremely critical of power in the Kremlin.

Punk prayer against Putin

In 2012, the activist was imprisoned for two years for protesting against President Vladimir Putin in a church with a so-called punk prayer. She continued to criticize President Vladimir Putin’s crackdown.

Russian leaders have placed several members of Pussy Riot on a list of so-called foreign agents to intimidate them and limit their influence, the opposition said.

Threat of exile to prison

Aloykhina has been imprisoned six times in the past year, each for 15 days. In April, authorities announced that his house arrest would be commuted to a 21-day stay in a penal colony. She then decided it was time to leave Russia – at least temporarily.

Pussy Riot now has a dozen members. The group is planning a tour in Europe. In Iceland, the group will perform at an event organized by pro-Ukrainian activists.

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