On February 21, 2012, the three-women Russian “art collective” Pussy Riot performed a protest song, “Punk Prayer,” which called on “Virgin Mary, Mother of God” to “become a feminist.” They’d been practicing for months inside The Cathedral of Christ the Savior, reports Grace Banks, a tourist trap in Moscow but had “no idea anyone would even care about the 40-second video they uploaded to social media” of their performance that day.
Yet, after days of hiding out, says Banks, Masha was eventually arrested and convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” on March 3, 2012 and jailed in a remote prison colony in Russia’s Urals Mountains for 21 months.
“If you hear someone talking about the humane treatment of women in Russian prisons, it is a total lie,” Alyokhina, aka Masha, told Banks.
In her new book “Riot Days,” Masha speaks of her experience in a women’s high-security prison, as well as the so-called reasons for her imprisonment, and basically rewrites “our understanding of Putin’s prisons.”
“This book is to say, ‘You might not have weapons or money, but whoever you are, you have a voice.’ It’s a book without borders, for any woman who has found herself stuck in an underclass and abused because of it,” Masha insists.