Maria “Masha” Alekhina placed on Wanted list

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On the 26th of April, 2022, Maria “Masha” Alekhina was named a fugitive and placed on the wanted list by the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Masha Alekhina, a political activist and member of the feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot, was designated Artists at Risk (AR)’s first ever AR-Resident Prisoner following her initial arrests last year.

Alekhina arriving for a court hearing in Moscow in March 2021

A few days prior, on April 21st, A Moscow court had replaced Alekhina’s home arrest sentence with an actual prison term sentence. As per the court’s decision, Alekhina would have to serve the remaining 21 days of her sentence in a penal colony. 

The grounds for sentencing provided were violation of curfew and Alekhina’s removal of her electronic bracelet while under “restricted freedom” or in other terms, house arrest. Alekhina had cut the strap of her bracelet in protest not just of the several outrageous detentions and arrests she was subjected to – the latest being her arrest days prior to her scheduled appearance as the keynote speaker at the AR-ZKM “Institutions and Resistance – Alliances for Art at Risk” symposium – but also of Putin’s horrific and antidemocratic invasion of Ukraine.

Alekhina did not attend the court hearing and was sentenced in absentia. According to the court order, Alekhina was to be taken into custody from the moment of her actual detention. Her whereabouts are unknown.

Maria “Masha” Alekhina is an artist, activist, and founding member of feminist punk rock band Pussy Riot. She was designated the first AR-Resident Prisoner in late 2021 following a year of repeated arrests. For a tweet promoting protests in support of demonstrations for jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in January 2021, Alekhina was repeatedly arrested and sentenced to 15-day administrative detentions in closed prison, while awaiting her trial concerning the events of January. Her most recent arrest was on December 15th, 2021, when she was apprehended from her front door and again sentenced to 15 days of administrative detention for a social media post from 2015.

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