A Leading Member of Pussy Riot Fled Russia Disguised as a Food Courier

Maria Alyokhina, who was under house arrest in Moscow, said she escaped via the Belarus border dressed in all-green food delivery gear.
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Maria Alyokhina pictured after a press conference at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Maria Alyokhina, a leading member of punk rock group Pussy Riot, has fled Russia after disguising herself as a food courier.

The artist, whose band rose to fame in 2012 following a masked protest performance in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral, escaped the country while under house arrest for political activism.

While Alyokhina and her bandmates have been vocal about their criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin since their inception – resulting in multiple stints in prison – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marked an increased clampdown and policing of free speech, forcing many dissenters to flee to the country. 

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In April, Russian authorities announced Alyokhina’s punishment of house

arrest would be increased and see her moved to a penal colony for 21 days. 

Speaking from the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, Alyokhina told the New York Times that she fled disguised as a food courier, leaving her phone behind to avoid being tracked. A photo from the day shows Alyokhina dressed in all green clothing and a face covering and hood, carrying a large freezer backpack commonly seen on food delivery drivers. 

Alyokhina travelled to the Belarus border by car, where it took her a week to travel to the Lithuanian border. 

“I was happy that I made it, because it was an unpredictable and big [fuck off] to the Russian authorities,” said Alyokhina. “I still don’t understand completely what I’ve done.”

Since the invasion, as many as 200,000 Russians have fled the country, including many prominent journalists