A member of Pussy Riot, Vladimir Putin’s least favourite punk band, managed to escape Russia. This is right out of a spy novel. (MORE UPDATES: How this was done.)

The members of Pussy Riot have been poking Vladimir Putin in the eye with a stick for years. For their troubles, they’ve been persecuted, arrested, prosecuted, and jailed. But they keep going.

Pussy Riot has been busy trying to get the truth out on the war in Ukraine, something that has again pushed them to the top of Putin’s dissidents-who-must-be-crushed list. It’s not safe for anyone associated with the band to remain in Russia.

Masha Alyokhina knew she was living on borrowed time. Having already been arrested for her anti-Putin activism, her anti-war-in-Ukraine stance wasn’t making her any friends with the FSB, so she went into hiding at a friend’s apartment. Somehow, though, the rozzers found out where she was and began a stakeout. It was time to move.

Disguising herself as a food courier, Masha gave them a slip, leaving her phone behind so she couldn’t be tracked.

Her first stop was at a border crossing with neighbouring Belarus. When she was turned away–authorities had long confiscated her passport–she tried another crossing. Turned away a second time, she found herself on a “wanted” list and face imminent arrest.

That’s when a friend with connections with the EU got her some travel documents that essentially made her an EU citizen, allowing her to get out of Russia. She’s now somewhere in Lithuania.

The New York Times has the whole story. And here’s a CNN report on how she got out. (Via Sean)

Now that she’s in a safe place, Masha (or Maria, if you prefer), is continuing to speak out against Putin. Her position is that it’s Russia that needs de-Nazification, not Ukraine. She’s no doubt hoping that Putin is unwell.

Meanwhile, Pussy Riot has kicked of their Anti-War Tour.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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