Interrupt This Program

Pussy Riot vs. Putin's Secret Police: 'If we are not fighting for our freedom, there is no freedom'

Imprisoned for her artistic protest, Russian artist Masha Alekhina of Pussy Riot finds personal liberation under oppression.

Imprisoned for her artistic protest, Russian artist Masha Alekhina finds personal liberation under oppression

Imprisoned for her anti-Putin protest, Russian artist Masha Alyokhina finds personal liberation under oppression 1:32

Stream the full episode here now: Moscow — Expression in the face of oppression

Moscow's feminist punks Pussy Riot are a force of anti-authoritarian resistance against oppression in Putin's Russia. In 2012, Masha Alekhina was arrested and sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism after the band performed "Mother of God, Drive Putin Away" as a protest against the Orthodox Church's support of Putin at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

After an appeal, Alekhina was freed from prison, but she says she's under surveillance like other activists in Russia. In the video above, she takes the Interrupt This Program crew around Red Square, telling them about Russian artists' lives of resistance and how to find personal freedom when you're being watched or put in jail.

If you are a political artist now in Russia, you can expect everything — you will be followed, you will be under their eyes.- Masha Alekhina , member of Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot

They listen to phones, stop you in the street, drag you to the police station. They're usually not wearing uniform.- Alekhina on the secret police monitoring political activists

In this Sunday's Interrupt This Program premiere from Moscow, Alekhina returns to the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Watch this and more stories of Russian artists creating in and fighting back against the society that seeks to control them at 9pm (9:30pm NT) on CBC TV.

Art as political protest, as a means of survival, as an agent of change, as a display of courage and delight. Interrupt This Program explores art in cities under pressure. 

Season 2 begins in Moscow on Feb. 5 at 9pm (9:30pm NT).

Watch Season 1 now streaming online with episodes from Beirut, Kiev, Port-au-Prince, Medellín and Athens.

Video edited by Benoit Salin.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.