01 February 2021
Punk rocker and activist Maria Alekhina is facing new criminal charges for participating in a massive protest condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Pussy Riot star, also known as Masha Alekhina, was among the tens of thousands who hit the streets nationwide on 23 January to put Putin on blast and voice their support for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The politician had spent five months in Germany recovering from a near-fatal poison attempt, before returning to Russia in mid-January, where he was taken into custody. Navalny maintains members of the Russian government were behind the August attack, during which he was exposed to a military-grade nerve agent - allegations officials have denied.
Alekhina was arrested at the rally and charged with "violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules" for attending the gathering, which carries a sentence of up to two years behind bars.
She was detained for 48 hours and was subsequently placed on house arrest ahead of further protests on Sunday - as were a number of other Navalny allies, according to reports.
The members of Pussy Riot are no strangers to police - Alekhina was sentenced to 140 hours of community service for protesting outside the Moscow headquarters of the Federal Security Service in 2018, while she was also one of two bandmates who spent almost two years in prison for staging a 2012 protest inside a Moscow church.