Maria Vladimirovna Alyokhina (Russian: Мари́я Влади́мировна Алёхина), also known as “Masha”, born June 6, 1988 , is a Russian political activist. She is a member of the anti-Putinist punk rock group Pussy Riot. On August 17, 2012, she was convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for a performance in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour and sentenced to two years imprisonment. She has been recognized as a political prisoner by the Union of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. Amnesty International named her a prisoner of conscience due to “the severity of the response of the Russian authorities.”
She is a fourth year student at the Institute of Journalism and Creative Writing in Moscow. She is a poet and participant of the literature courses of Dmitry Vedenyapin and Alexey Kubrik. She is an environmental activist with Greenpeace Russia, and has opposed development projects in the Khimki Forest. She was a volunteer at Children’s Psychiatric Hospital in Moscow. She has a five-year-old son, Philip. She is a vegan and reportedly collapsed from hunger during the trial. She played an active role in the Pussy Riot trial: cross-examining witnesses, and aggressively questioning the charges and proceedings. She said in her closing statement:
«Для меня лишь этот процесс имеет статус “так называемого” процесса. И я вас не боюсь. Я не боюсь лжи и фикции, плохо задекорированного обмана в приговоре так называемого суда. Потому что вы можете лишить меня так называемой свободы. А именно такая сейчас существует в России. А моей внутренней свободы никому не отнять.»
“For me, this trial only has the status of a ‘so-called’ trial. And I am not afraid of you. I am not afraid of lies and fiction, of the thinly disguised fraud in the sentence of this so-called court. Because you can only take away my so-called freedom. And that is the exact kind that exists now in Russia. But nobody can take away my inner freedom.”
- "Дело группы Pussy Riot". March 23, 2012.
- "Russia: Release punk singers held after performance in church". Amnesty International. April 3, 2012. Archived from the original on 23 Jul 2012.
- "Троих предполагаемых участниц Pussy Riot признали политзаключенными" [Three of the alleged participants of Pussy Riot recognized as political prisoners]. Росбалт (in Russian). March 25, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Google translation.
- "Литературная карта России: Студия: Мария Алехина".
- Robert Mackey (August 15, 2012). "Actress Writes to Putin to Demand Vegan Meals for Jailed Punk Protesters". The Lede (The New York Times). Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Miriam Elder (August 8, 2012). "Pussy Riot profile: Maria Alyokhina: Unofficial spokeswoman for Pussy Riot, Maria Alyokhina has challenged witnesses and remains defiant over the charges". The Guardian (Moscow). Retrieved August 9, 2012.
- "'Так называемый процесс'". Novaya Gazeta. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012.