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May 16, 2022
Maria Alyokhina, leader of Russian protest band Pussy Riot, escaped the country by dressing as a food-delivery worker. She is now in Lithuania, with Pussy Riot preparing to tour to raise funds for Ukraine.

Photo: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The leader of the Russian activist band Pussy Riot escaped her home country in April — only by posing as a food-delivery worker, in order to leave a friend’s apartment unnoticed by police. Maria V. Alyokhina told the New York Times about her escape to Lithuania, where she ended up after first crossing the Russian border to Belarus. After being arrested six times in less than a year, Alyokhina was on house arrest and set to spend three weeks exiled in a penal colony before she escaped, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She called her escape “an unpredictable and big” fuck-you to Russia. Once Alyokhina left the apartment in disguise, a friend drove her to the Belarusian border. Crossing from Belarus to Lithuania proved more difficult, after she was turned away at the border twice. Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson eventually helped her acquire a travel document from an unnamed country that helped her cross to Lithuania — where many Pussy Riot members had already escaped to, including Alyokhina’s girlfriend, Lucy Shtein (who also left with the help of a delivery-worker outfit). “It sounds like a spy novel,” Alyokhina said.

Pussy Riot is now readying a tour, beginning May 12 in Berlin, to fundraise for Ukrainian aid — the latest in the group’s ongoing antiwar activism. “I don’t think Russia has a right to exist anymore,” Alyokhina told the Times. “Even before, there were questions about how it is united, by what values it is united, and where it is going. But now I don’t think that is a question anymore.”

<h2>Sources</h2>      <cite>                              new york times                                  </cite>
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