Picture of author.

Maria Alyokhina

Author of Riot Days

4 Works 98 Members 17 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Maria Alyokhina (author)

Image credit: wikipedia

Works by Maria Alyokhina


Common Knowledge



Maria Alyokhina is a member of the punk protest group, Pussy Riot. She, and another member, were jailed for two years after performing a protest song, "Punk Prayer", as a protest in a Russian Orthodox church. To do this performance, they smuggled amps, and guitars into the church, jumped onto the altar, set up, and sang of 2 minutes tops before being thrown out and eventually arrested. Their protest was about the influence of the church on the state, and about Putin.

More than this though, the book is about the author's time in prison, where, as a political prisoner, she received 'special' treatment, including being kept in solitary 'for her own safety', having her own guard who monitored her alone, and video surveillance of her cell. She showed incredible fortitude, courage and outright fearlessness in dealing with the prison system. She fought them, only rarely questioning the impacts this had on other prisoners, who were collectively punished for Maria's actions to seek basic rights for all prisoners. I so admire her steadfastness in this regard. She was unwavering in her conviction that "to back down an inch is to give up a mile".

Prison time was tough, the hundreds of indignities and petty nastiness from the guards, and the 'system', were designed to create submissive prisoners. This type of systematic bullying and cruelty is so shockingly recent, 2012, and proves Putin's Russia to be nothing like the images it projects.
… (more)
1 vote
LovingLit | 16 other reviews | Apr 9, 2019 |
Brilliant, accessible look at the experience of one of the Pussy Riot protestors who was jailed for two years following their performance in an Orthodox Church. Managing to find black humour in her experiences, from the weird comments of the prosecutors in her trial to the prison officials' inability to cope with her opposition to their unlawful actions to the rest of the prison population. I admired her bravery in mounting a protest in the first place, but her actions in the prison really go beyond this. She manages to acknowledge the cost of opposing more powerful forces: the state's use of isolation against her is particularly brutal. But the book leaves the reader with a strong sense of just how important it is to have your voice heard.
"In one of my enormous bags I’m carrying books . At night, in the car, I read poetry . When I read out loud, everyone around me quietens down. goes quiet ‘Parting is more terrible at dawn than at sunset,’ Boris Ryzhy wrote.
‘Who’s reading?’ a convict calls out.
‘Don’t you know?’ comes a voice from another compartment. ‘Pussy Riot’s here!’"

(Netgalley copy)
… (more)
1 vote
charl08 | 16 other reviews | Apr 6, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Wow! This was so kick-ass, as expected, but it was also so smart, full of allusion to every Russian or Soviet political prisoner you can think of (Dostoyevsky, the Decembrists, Trotsky, Solzhenitsyn, etc). Alyokhina reveals herself as a thoughtful feminist activist, angry, kind, passionate. Just on the level of story, this book is wonderful. You worry about her and the women she's imprisoned with, are infuriated at their treatment, and looking at her life now, can only gaze in awe at her courage in returning to Russia. She's a superhero and a great writer.… (more)
1 vote
susanbooks | 16 other reviews | Dec 14, 2018 |
This one was hard for me to rate, but I eventually had to go with four stars just because Masha Alyokhina and Pussy Riot are kickass. The author jumps right into the events that led to her arrest and imprisonment; although we do learn a bit about her life before Pussy Riot here and there, she mostly focuses on the protest in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior and what came afterwards.

The writing style is a bit rough and choppy, and I think it suffers a bit in the translation at some points. But it's also urgent, and once I got used to it, I found that it flowed very well and drew me into the book very easily.

It's even more amazing, looking back, that these women had the courage to stand up to Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church, especially in such a totalitarian-leaning country such as Russia. By protesting, Alyokhina was sentenced to two years in prison - two very difficult years, undertaking a couple of different hunger strikes to draw attention to the abhorrent conditions in which prisoners were kept. Prisoners in Russia are routinely taken advantage of by the state, being forced to work in poor conditions far below the pay they are promised. Alyokhina's courage is impressive.
… (more)
schatzi | 16 other reviews | Nov 23, 2018 |



Charts & Graphs