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Pussy Riot Members Flee Russia as Government Intensifies Harassment

Pussy Riot Members Flee Russia as Government Intensifies Harassment

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Pussy Riot Members Flee Russia as Government Intensifies Harassment

Citing a campaign of sustained harassment by the Russian government, three members of Pussy Riot have temporarily departed the country, The Art Newspaper reports. Alexander Sofeyev, Anna Kuzminykh, and Veronika Nikulshina announced via Twitter that they left in order “to take a break from constant arrests for a second.”In what analysts predict is an effort to clear the field prior to the nation’s upcoming parliamentary elections, to be held September 19, the government of Vladimir Putin has in recent months repeatedly arrested and re-arrested members of the feminist political protest collective, which was founded in 2011. Late in June, Masha Alekhina was jailed for fifteen days on charges of resisting police; upon her July 7 release, Alekhina was arrested on the same charges as she exited the detention facility, and sentenced to serve another fifteen days. On July 21, Rita Flores (née Margarita Konovalova) was detained while on her way to visit Alekhina; the following day, Flores was arrested for “no damn reason,” according to her compatriots. Charged with disobeying a police officer, she was jailed and subsequently hospitalized after contracting Covid-19. On August 2, a court ruled that Flores would have to return to prison for five days and twenty-one hours following her release from the hospital, the date of which is not yet known.Along with Pussy Riot member Lucy Shteyn, who has also been repeatedly jailed in recent months, Alekhina was on January 23 charged with “violating sanitary-epidemiological norms” regarding the spread of Covid-19, following the pair’s participation in a demonstration in support of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny. Alekhina was placed under house arrest, a condition separate from her summer arrests, and, thanks to a July 23 ruling by a Moscow court, will remain so until January 8, 2022.Shteyn in an Instagram post of a few days ago pointed up the irony of the pair’s being arrested for spreading Covid-19, noting that she contracted it while jailed on that very charge. “Guess what measures the state, so concerned about sanitary standards, takes before putting everyone in a common cell? Correct, none,” she wrote. “They infected me, and I am being tried for it.”

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