Pussy Riot Member Fled Moscow in Delivery Outfit

'I could no longer stay in Russia,' Lucy Shtein says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2022 6:40 PM CDT
Pussy Riot Activist Reveals Her Disguise in Fleeing Moscow
Nadezhda "Nadya" Tolokonnikova and Masha Alyokhina of Pussy Riot hold a news conference at Amnesty International's New York headquarters in 2014. Alyokhina just escaped Russia, as did Lucy Shtein.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

(Newser) – Lucy Shtein has experience in hiding her identity in Moscow. "I have worn different disguises before to dodge the police," the Pussy Riot activist said, per the Guardian. "Sometimes I would wear long coats, I even dressed as a construction worker once." When President Vladimir Putin announced a hunt for "national traitors" after the invasion of Ukraine, Shtein—who already was under house arrest—said she realized, "I could no longer stay in Russia." She began planning her escape, figuring "it wasn't going to be easy." She decided to take advantage of a feature of modern life in Moscow.

Shtein ordered a bright green suit from a food delivery company online and stepped into the street outside her flat, which police regularly patrol. She blended in. "We have become so used to delivery couriers roaming Moscow, so it was a foolproof way to escape," Shtein said. After several car trips she'd mapped out, she crossed into Lithuania. Her girlfriend, Masha Alyokhina, also a Pussy Riot activist, later sneaked out of Russia the same way, per the New York Times, wearing a food delivery suit Shtein had left for her. Along with other Pussy Riot members who got out, they're going to perform in Europe to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.

"I want to be useful in one way or another," Shtein said. She'll now be able to do it without the ankle monitor, and Alyokhina will avoid the criminal charges she was facing in Russia. In response to Putin's threatening rhetoric, pro-government activists had put pictures on the door of her flat calling her a traitor who had “sold out the country," she said. "For a long time I aspired to change things from within the country, but the war simply made that impossible," Shtein said. "If I wouldn’t be able to continue any of my work in Russia, it didn’t make any sense for me to stay, just sitting around doing nothing." (Read more Pussy Riot stories.)

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