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Masha was detained outside of the Federal Security Service building in Russiavia Twitter (@pussyrrriot)

Pussy Riot’s Masha arrested for throwing paper planes in Russia protest

The group of women, including Maria Alyokhina, were demonstrating against the ban of encrypted messenger app Telegram

Activist, writer, artist, and Pussy Riot member Masha Alekhina (Maria Alyokhina) was arrested and detained with a group demonstrating against the Russia-wide ban on encrypted messaging service Telegram.

In protest, they threw paper planes, which is the symbol in the Telegram logo, at authorities outside the Federal Security Service building.

Telegram is a global messaging app, similar to Whatsapp, but without the data-sharing with Facebook. It has a ‘secret chat’ option, end-to-end encryption, and messages can be sent with self-destruct options. As the Verge reports, the Durov brothers, who created Russia’s largest social network VKontakte, built the app. It acquired its funding as a tool to evade Russian security spying. 

Last week, the Russian government announced a ban on Telegram, after the company refused to hand over its encryption key to the Federal Security Service. Roskomnadzor, the communications watchdog, initiated blocking the app from Monday (April 16). It’s sparked world and internet-wide criticism – whistleblower Edward Snowdon called it a “morally and technically ignorant censorship effort,” on Twitter. Users in Russia, according to Mediazona, reported connectivity problems and crashes across Microsoft and Windows, Twitch, Netflix, and some Android apps.

Video footage shows Alekhina and other women throwing paper planes outside the FSS building, and photography on Pussy Riot’s social media shows them being detained. Reportedly, Alekhina will face court today (April 18), having spent two days in police custody. 

Back in December, Alekhina was ordered to serve 40 hours of community service for the protest where she and Olga Borisova hung a banner reading ‘Happy birthday, executioners’ outside the FSS. The punk collective Pussy Riot continues to release politically-charged music aimed at Putin and Trump, as well as a recent activist-inspired clothing line to fund their independent media outlet Mediazona

Dazed has reached out to Pussy Riot for comment.