Review: Riot Days by Maria Alykhina

Riot Days is a book about protest and freedom. In 2012 Maria Alykhina was convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred in a Russian court. Her crime? She and other members of the band Pussy Riot had performed forty seconds of their song Mother Mary, Banish Putin inside a Russian Orthodox Church. Riot Days is her account of the days leading up to the protest, her life on the run, eventual arrest, conviction and her time inside the Russian prison system. It is a harrowing account of something that we in Australia would take for granted. The right to protest and to criticise government. 

This book is not easy reading. Told in short snippets it details the gruelling conditions inside the prisons and the way that prisons are treated and abuses they are subjected to, often because they do not know that they have the right to say no. There are accounts of degrading strip searches, how prisoners are transported and many other things that amount to an astonishing level of abuse of basic human rights. 

And all because of a forty second protest.

As I said this one is not easy reading. It is, however, important reading and an eye opener to the injustices and the necessity of fighting for ones freedom no matter the cost.



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