Maria Alyokhina

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Maria Alyokhina
Maria Alekhina (Pussy Riot) at the Moscow Tagansky District Court - Denis Bochkarev.jpg
Alyokhina in 2012
Native name Мари́я Влади́мировна Алёхина
Born Maria Vladimirovna Alyokhina
(1988-06-06) June 6, 1988 (age 25)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Nationality Russian
Education Institute of Journalism and Creative Writing
Occupation Political activist, student, musician
Organization Pussy Riot
Criminal charge
Hooliganism motivated by religious hatred
Criminal penalty
2 years imprisonment
Criminal status
Released under amnesty on December 23, 2013

Maria Vladimirovna Alyokhina (Russian: Мари́я Влади́мировна Алёхина; born June 6, 1988 in Moscow)[1] is a Russian political activist. She is a member of the anti-Putinist[2] 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.[3] Amnesty International named her a prisoner of conscience due to "the severity of the response of the Russian authorities."[2]

At the time of her arrest, Alyokhina was a fourth-year student at the Institute of Journalism and Creative Writing in Moscow, where she participated in the literature courses of Dmitry Vedenyapin and Alexey Kubrik. She is a published poet.[4] She has been involved in environmental activism with Greenpeace Russia, opposing development projects in the Khimki Forest, and was a volunteer at the Children's Psychiatric Hospital in Moscow. Her son Filip was born in 2008. She is a vegan and reportedly collapsed from hunger during the trial, as no vegan meals were provided in detention.[5]

She played an active role in the Pussy Riot trial, cross-examining witnesses, and aggressively questioning the charges and proceedings.[6] She said in her closing statement:[7]

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.

Alyokhina was released from prison on December 23, 2013[8] under an amnesty bill passed by the Russian Duma, allowing the release of several inmates. Following her release, Alyokhina and fellow Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova announced their intention to campaign for prisoner's rights in Russia.On 6 March 2014, she was assaulted and injured at a fast food outlet by local youths in Nizhny Novgorod.[9]

Sochi detention[edit]

In February 2014, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were detained in Sochi by the Adler Police in connection with an alleged hotel theft. They were released without charge.[10] On 19 February footage surfaced showing footage of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina being attacked with horsewhips by Cossacks who were patrolling Sochi during the Winter Olympics.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Дело группы Pussy Riot". March 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Russia: Release punk singers held after performance in church". Amnesty International. April 3, 2012. Archived from the original on 23 Jul 2012. 
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "Литературная карта России: Студия: Мария Алехина". 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ "'Так называемый процесс'". Novaya Gazeta. 8 August 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Pussy riot member released". December 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ "2 Pussy Riots Band Members assaulted in Moscow". IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  10. ^ http://www.newsweek.com/pussy-riot-members-nadezhda-nadya-tolokonnikova-and-maria-alyokhina-detained-sochi-ahead-protest
  11. ^ Pussy Riot whipped at Sochi Games by Cossacks. 19 February 2014. BBC News.

External links[edit]