The activist of the Kremlin-critical punk band Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina, managed to escape from Russia despite police surveillance. With the help of friends, the 33-year-old reached Lithuania via Belarus, as the artist told the New York Times in an interview in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

In order to escape from her monitors in Moscow, she disguised herself as a food delivery woman. The newspaper published pictures of Alyokhina in a green courier uniform.

The 33-year-old reported that she also left her cell phone behind to distract herself and not to be located. According to the Interfax agency, the lawyer for the anti-government feminist activist only said on Tuesday evening that Alyokhina was no longer on Russian territory.

“I still don’t fully understand what I did,” the artist told the newspaper. But she is glad she made it. “When your heart is free, it doesn’t matter where you are,” she said in the interview. “A lot of magic” happened last week. “It sounds like a spy novel.”

Alyokhina was sentenced to two years in a prison camp with her bandmate Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in 2012. She had protested against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church. At the end of 2013 they were pardoned and released. Recently, however, Alyokhina has repeatedly come into conflict with the Russian judiciary.

In connection with calls for demonstrations for the imprisoned Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny, she was sentenced to one year of imprisonment in September last year. She was not allowed to leave her apartment at night. Since the beginning of the year, she has been picked up several times by the security authorities for various allegations.

The artist now said that her decision to leave Russia was made in April, when Putin began to crack down on criticism of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. The authorities had announced that Alekhina’s house arrest at the time would be converted into a 21-day prison camp.

An acquaintance then drove her to the border with Belarus in a car and reached Lithuania after about a week, she said. She was turned away twice by Belarusian border guards, but it worked the third time.

An artist friend from Iceland got an unnamed European country to issue the 33-year-old – whose passport was confiscated by Russia – with a travel document that gave her status similar to that of an EU citizen.

This document was smuggled into Belarus. In the country, Alyokhina avoided hotels and other places where she would have had to identify herself. Meanwhile, Russian authorities have already been looking for her.

The fact that she managed to escape is also shown by the chaos of the Russian law enforcement agencies, the artist told the New York Times. “It looks like a giant demon from here, but from the inside it’s very disorganized. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.” Despite everything, she hopes to be able to return to Russia at some point.

Other members of the band are said to have left Russia in the meantime, including a friend of Alyokhina, with whom she shared an apartment. She also disguised herself as a food delivery person.

https://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/es-klingt-wie-ein-spionage-roman-pussy-riot-aktivistin-aljochina-fluechtet-aus-russland-als-lieferantin-verkleidet/28323652.htmlV2

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