A Russian teenager faces years in prison for a social media post criticizing the war in Ukraine
Olesya Krivtsova sports anti-Putin a tattoo on one ankle and a bracelet that tracks her every move on the other.
The 19-year-old from Russia’s Arkhangelsk region must wear the device while under house arrest after being charged with social media posts that authorities say are defamatory Russian army and justify terrorism.
Russian authorities added Krivtsova to the list of terrorists and extremists, alongside IS, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, for posting an Instagram story about explosion of the Crimean bridge in October, who also criticized Russia for invading Ukraine.
Krivtsova, a student at the Northern (Arctic) Federal University in the northwestern city of Arkhangelsk, also faces criminal charges of defaming the Russian military for making a post allegedly critical of the war in a student chat room on the Russian social network VK.
Krivtsova is currently under house arrest in her mother’s apartment in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, with a ban on accessing the Internet and using other forms of communication.
“Olesya’s case is not the first, nor is it the last,” Alexei Kitchin, Krivtsova’s lawyer, told CNN.
Kitchin said the teenager could face up to three years in prison for discrediting the Russian military and up to seven years in prison under an article for justifying terrorism. However, Krivtsova’s defense hopes for a milder punishment such as a fine.
Independent human rights monitor OVD-Info said at least 61 cases were opened in Russia in 2022 on charges of condoning terrorism on the Internet, with 26 resulting in convictions so far.
Olesya’s mother, Natalia Krivtsova, says the government is trying to warn the public by having her daughter “publicly flogged” for not keeping her views to herself.
“We live in Arkhangelsk region, and it is a huge region, but too far from the center. There are no more protests in Arkhangelsk, so they are trying to strangle whatever is left at an early stage,” Natalia Krivtsova told CNN.
Local Communist Party leader Alexander Novikov publicly mocked the teenager on state television, calling her a fool who should be sent to the front line in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas so she could “look into the eyes” of military battles as part from the Archangel Battalion.
This is not Olesya Krivtsova’s first clash with the authorities for publicly expressing her views. Last May, she faced administrative charges for discrediting the Russian military by distributing anti-war posters.
Things took a turn for the worse when she was accused of discrediting the Russian military on social media last October. According to Krivtsova’s lawyer, a repeated violation under the same article becomes a criminal case.
“She has a keen sense of justice that makes her life difficult. Not being able to remain silent is now a great sin in the Russian Federation,” her mother told CNN.
According to Nataliya Krivtsova, the police broke into an apartment where her daughter lived with her husband Ilya on December 26, forcing the young people to lie face down on the ground and allegedly threatening them with a hammer, which the police told her was a “hello” from Wagner groupa private military contractor led by Yevgeny Prigozhin.
CNN has contacted state police in Arkhangelsk for comment.
“Olesya was very scared because she saw the video in which a a prisoner was killed with a hammerher mother told CNN.
In the infamous video referenced by Natalia Krivtsova, mercenaries from the Wagner group, which actively recruits prisoners, apparently executed ex-prisoner Yevgeny Nuzhin with a hammer after he tried to escape from his post. The video’s description says: “The traitor received the traditional, primal punishment of Wagner.”
“The country has some strange policies: prisoners go to war and children go to prison,” she said.
#Russian #teenager #faces #years #prison #social #media #post #criticizing #war #Ukraine