Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina on Malaysia Airlines Disaster: 'Our Leaders Ask Us to Accept a Lie'

Maria Alokhyna of Pussy Riot with (right) Nadezhda Tolokinnikova after their release from jail
Maria Alokhyna of Pussy Riot with (right) Nadezhda Tolokinnikova after their release from jail
 AP Photo/Axel Schmidt

One of Russian president Vladimir Putin's leading critics, anti-Kremlin activist Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot wrote Saturday that Russian media were peddling lies about the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 over eastern Ukraine.

In an op-ed written for Britain's Guardian newspaper, she takes issue with Russian media's framing of the disaster. "The plane did not crash and it did not 'collapse' — as was written by some of the Russian media — it was shot down from the ground," she wrote. 

"There is too much evidence that the Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by the pro-Russian DPR army," the activist continued. "Not on purpose: it was a stupid, horrible accident, a mistake too easily made when people get confused (or are deliberately confused by their leaders), when inchoate rage and patriotism are aimed at a target as big as the sky. But rather than admit their mistakes, our leaders ask us to accept a lie."

In Alyokhina's first public statement for some months, she lashes out at the slavish nature of Russian media reports, including reports that carried remarks by lawmaker Sergey Kalashnikov who wrote: "Will it be any easier for you if you find out who shot the plane down?"

Alyokhina pointed out that Russian media reports were now referring to the region where the plane crashed simply as "Ukraine" without the habitual references used for the territory in recent weeks, such as "New Russia," "DPR" or "LPR" — the Lugansk People's Republic, another self-declared separatist region.

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