Pussy Rioter embarks on hunger strike

Refused parole rights, Maria Alyokhina's fight continues as she starves herself in prison

moscow detention centre.
Over 850,000 are currently held in the Russian prison system – almost as many as were held in Stalin's Gulags

One of them is a 25-year-old performance artist, feminist and Pussy Riot member called Maria Alyokhina. Pussy Riot's balaclava-clad punk prayer against Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Christ The Savoir cathedral in Moscow sent them into protest's most-tagged – and prison. Charged under beyond-dubious hooliganism offences, Maria Alyokhina and two others were jailed in a highly controversial hearing last summer. This afternoon, news broke that Maria has gone on hunger strike, after she was denied the right to appear at her own parole board hearing.

Fiona Cook interviewed her for the latest issue of Dazed & Confused, in which she told us about her torment. 

My typical day begins with breakfast, followed by studying for a seamstress qualification. Later I have a break for lunch, and then I go back to studying until around 3pm. I believe the reason I’ve been put in shiza (the Russian term for solitary confinement, an abbreviation of ‘schizophrenia’) is because it is a way of isolating me from the rest of the colony, and I can only assume that I might be released from here in a month or two. Meanwhile, I have signed a document agreeing to prolong my stay there, as it is in a way the best out of two evils, and possibly the only solution to maintain some kind of comfortable living.

More Arts+Culture