Maria “Masha” Alyokhina is a Russian political activist and founding member of Pussy Riot, the radical, feminist punk group she initiated together with Nadezhda “Nadya” Tolokonnikova and Katya Samutsevich. On August 17, 2012, Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for their famous “punk-rock prayer” in Moscow’s central Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. They were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. She has been recognized as a political prisoner by the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. Amnesty International named her a prisoner of conscience due to “the severity of the response of the Russian authorities.”
Alyokhina said at the time: “For me, this trial only has the status of a ‘so-called’ trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of lies and fiction, of the thinly disguised fraud in the sentence of this so-called court. Because you can only take away my so-called freedom… But nobody can take away my inner freedom.” Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yuri Andrukhovychco received the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought in 2014.
Since their trial and early release from harsh prison conditions, which resonated around the world, Pussy Riot has carried out further daring actions, including storming the World Cup Final football field in Sochi, among many others. They are also key to the founding of the online media outlet Mediazona and Zona Prava, a prisoners’ rights protection organization, together with other former members of the Voina art group. Masha Alyokhina’s book Riot Days became a punk theatre piece by the same name about her life, imprisonment and ongoing, daring political resistance to the Russian government. She is touring it around the world, when she is not busy with new actions and protests – such as today’s protests concerning Navalny’s imprisonment in Moscow!
Maria Alyokhina is a member of the International Advisory Board of Artists at Risk (AR).
#RiskandRebellion (January 24th and 25th, 2021) is a mondial symposium and kick-off of Artists at Risk (AR) – A European Network of Safe Havens (AR-ENSH) a Creative Europe project co-funded by the European Union. AR-ENSH Partner Institutions: Artists at Risk (AR), Artveda, CCCB, Stalker and ZKM | Karlsruhe.
Join the Conversation! — t.me/artistsatrisk
WATCH the livestream: http://bit.ly/RandRliveYoutube