Who is afraid of the Pussy Riot?
24 MAR 2017
Meet the Russian activists who were sentenced to prison after their performance "Punk Prayer" in Moscow’s cathedral.
They are the most famous female collective in the world: Russian feminists and activists, Pussy Riot have staged some of the most memorable performances of our times. Now two of its members are coming to Athens to present their work and discuss with Dimitris Papanikolaou and the public at the OCC: the journalist Sasha Bogino and the poet Masha Alyokhina.
Masha Alyokhina, a founder member of Pussy Riot, has since set up Zona Prava, an organization which provides support to prisoners in Russian jails. Her interest in the conditions in which prisoners are kept in Russia was spurred by the months she herself spent in prison after her conviction for hooliganism in 2012—the hooliganism in question being Pussy Riot’s performance in Moscow cathedral. Entitled Punk Prayer, it condemned the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for Vladimir Putin.
Sasha Bogino, who recently joined Pussy Riot, is a key person connected with Zona Prava organization, which was founded by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot and currently provides legal and informational support to Russian prisoners and criminal defendants.
creditsCurated by: Afroditi Panagiotakou, Pasqua Vorgia
In conversation with Dimitris Papanikolaou, Associate Professor of Modern Greek Studies, University of Oxford
Our heartfelt thanks to Katerina Oikonomakou for her contribution.
read moreRead more about the two Pussy Riot members coming to Greece
MashaVladimirovna Alyokhina is a Russian political activist. She is a member of the anti-Putinist all-female art collective 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 Savior 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.”
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. 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.
Sasha was born in Moscow in 1995. She studied at a German language school in Moscow and at Rheingau Gymnasium in Berlin. She also attended Dunaevsky music school in Moscow and graduated from Moscow Higher School of Economics in 2016 (bachelor in communication, media and design). She applied for the faculty of data journalism in Higher School of Economics, and currently studies investigative journalism, human rights and international relationship.
Sasha worked as the TV Rain website’s editor (TV Rain is the most popular Russian independent media), reporter and social media manager, from April 2014 to October 2015. While working at TV Rain, she reported on politics, human rights, social problems, human rights activism and war conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
In January 2015, Sasha started to serve as a personal assistant of Masha Alyokhina. Since October 2015, she has been working as a reporter in Mediazona, a news outlet, connected with Zona Prava organization, which was founded by Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina of Pussy Riot and currently provides legal and informational support to Russian prisoners and criminal defendants.
Between 2014-2015, she reported on several demonstrations in Moscow — against the war conflict in Ukraine, censorship in Russian media, current government and elections. She wrote about the trial of Nadya Savchenko, a Ukrainian female solider, who was convicted for killing two Russian journalists during an air strike in Eastern Ukraine. In May 2016, she took part in the Raoul Wallenberg’s Committee roundtable in Budapest as a representative of Mediazona and Zona Prava. She currently investigates the Wallenberg’s case and tries to enlighten the circumstances of his imprisonment and death in the Soviet Union. In July 2016, she investigated the death of a 27-year old soldier from North Ossetia, who was believed to had been murdered by his colleagues in a military unit in Moscow suburb. Sasha now writes mostly about Russian opposition activists, political prisoners and conditions they face in jail.
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