October 1, 2022

Pussy Riot begins its Ukraine tour after fleeing Moscow

Pussy Riot begins its Ukraine tour after fleeing Moscow

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BERLIN – Russian feminist arts group Pussy Riot took to the stage with an anti-war message Thursday, performing for the first time in three years after their lead singer fled Russia by posing as a food courier to evade police.

Speaking in Berlin at the start of a European tour that is set to include 19 offers to raise funds for victims of the war in Ukraine, Maria Alyokhina, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, called her decision to leave Russia “spontaneous”.

This came after the Russian authorities announced that they would have to serve a 21 days penalty in a penal colony. Yukina has been arrested six times over the past year on charges related to her political activism, with Putin expanding an already stifling crackdown on political dissent since his invasion of Ukraine.

More than 4,500 anti-war protesters were arrested during a single day in March, according to one rights group. Meanwhile, even calling the war a war could be punished with imprisonment.

“We want to tell the truth,” Al-Yukhana said. “Those Russians who realize that they are already doing everything they can are imprisoned.”

Best known for her provocative guerrilla performance, Pussy Riot It gained notoriety in February 2012, with a performance of a “punk prayer” critical of Putin at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Alyokina and another member of the group were sentenced to two years in prison.

Their new show “Anti-War”, which combines performances of music, theater and video, also includes the names of imprisoned and persecuted Russian dissidents.

To enable the tour, Alyokhina went through “different adventures,” as the group said on Instagram.

Al-Yukina recounted those adventures of The New York Times Earlier this week, she described how she wore a food delivery uniform to deceive police officers monitoring the apartment she was staying in and left her mobile phone behind to avoid being tracked. Then she took an indirect route outside the country through Belarus and Lithuania.

Her friend Lucy Stein revealed a similar breakout. “An easy way to bypass the cops on your way,” she said Post on Instagramalong with a photo of her wearing a green food delivery outfit.

Thousands of Russian liberals fled Putin’s wartime campaign.

Olga Borisova, another member of the group that performed on Thursday, said she left the country when the war began. Diana Burkut said she packed her bags two months ago, but all the group members wanted to come back.

When asked what message the group wanted to send to Putin at their party, Burkut said they didn’t want to send him a message at all. From their point of view, it is no longer possible to deal with it.

Borisova said they hope he will be tried as a war criminal.

Addressing the West, the three representatives stressed that it was dangerous to remain silent in the face of the actions of the Russian leader. “Evil does not care,” said Al-Yakhina.

Borisova said she thought that after Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, no one would talk to Putin anymore. Especially since it was a violation of international law and “extremely brutal.”

Instead, they were shocked at how limited the international reaction was in 2014 and how quickly everyone could return to normal. “Of course, if he sees that he can do it and there is no reaction, why don’t we go further and annex more and more lands, to start the war?” Borisova said.

“It has become very ridiculous,” Alekhina said of the Russian government’s efforts to promote its invasion of Ukraine as a “special operation” and prevent citizens from understanding it as a war. She noted that someone buying ads on Instagram could theoretically end up in prison for up to five years for “sponsoring extremists”.

Russia banned Instagram and Facebook in March after Facebook temporarily suspended hate speech rules and allowed posts calling for Putin’s death. Later, the court banned the parent company Meta as an extremist organization.

Speaking to reporters before the ceremony, Alyokhina was reluctant to go into details of how she evaded the Russian authorities to leave the country.

“I think the focus should be on Ukraine now and not on me,” she said, calling on countries to stop selling Russian weapons and buying their oil.