Pussy Riot Claims That Masha Alyokhina Has ‘Found a Way to Escape’ Russia to Perform in Scotland, Defying a Travel Ban

"The show must go on," the group posts, referring to "Pussy Riot: Riot Days" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina. Photo: Maria Alyokhina (@all_mary) via Twitter.

Former Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina has defied a travel ban and found a way to leave Russia to perform in Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

On Wednesday, Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) barred Alyokhina from getting on her flight at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. In a Tweet sent from the airport Alyokhina announced, “the guys from the FSB border service told me that I am barred from leaving the country.” 

According to Frieze, authorities imposed a temporary travel ban on the activist because she failed to complete a previous community service sentence handed down by a court for protesting outside Moscow’s FSB headquarters without prior approval.

Alyokhina has been closely monitored by Russian federal security services since serving a two-year jail term alongside fellow member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova for participating in a now-infamous masked anti-Putin punk rock performance in a Moscow cathedral in 2012. After leaving prison and becoming international human rights icons, the two officially split with the official Pussy Riot group in 2014.

But in a stunning turn of events today, the collective announced on Facebook that Alyokhina found a way to “escape” Russia in spite of the travel ban, although the post did not go into detail about how she managed to evade authorities undetected.

Promo image for "Pussy Riot: Riot Days" at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Promo image for “Pussy Riot: Riot Days” at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

“Despite the official ban to leave Russia, Masha Alyokhina has found a way to escape, and she is flying to Edinburgh right now! Show must go on,” the group posted on Thursday morning.

In Edinburgh, Alyokhina is scheduled to perform as part of “Riot Days” from August 10-19, a daily performance based on her 2017 book of the same title. The show is described as a mix of “punk, electronica, theater, documentary footage and protest.”

Maria Alyokhina's <em>Riot Days</em> (Penguin, 2017).

Maria Alyokhina’s Riot Days (Penguin, 2017).

Pussy Riot’s activism has attracted renewed attention for a recent high-profile demonstration in which four members disrupted the World Cup final between France and Croatia on July 15 by running onto the field of play dressed as Russian police officers to raise awareness for police reform in Russia. Four activists were jailed for two weeks, and were handed a three-year ban from all sports events.


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