A 19-year-old girl from Russia's Arkhangelsk region is under arrest and is facing years in prison over social media posts that authorities say discredit the Russian army and justify terrorism.
According to CNN, Olesya Krivtsova, who sports an anti-Putin tattoo, has been added to the list of terrorists and extremists, on a par with ISIS, al Qaeda and the Taliban, for posting an Instagram story about the explosion on the Crimean bridge in October that also criticised Russia for invading Ukraine. She is also facing criminal charges for discrediting the Russian army by making an allegedly critical repost of the ongoing war in a student chat on the Russian social network VK.
Speaking to the outlet, the teenager's mother, Natalya Krivtsova, said that on December 26, police burst into an apartment where her daughter was living with her husband Ilya. They forced both of them to lie face down on the floor and allegedly threatened them with a sledgehammer, which the officers claimed was a “hello” from the Yevgeny Prigozhin-led Wagner Group. She also informed that the 19-year-old was shown a video by the forces in which a prisoner was executed with a sledgehammer.
Notably, the Wagner Group aggressively recruits convicts into the army. They allegedly killed Yevgeny Nuzhin, a former prisoner, with a sledgehammer as he tried to abandon his station.
Her mother told CNN, “Olesya was very frightened because she saw the video in which a prisoner was killed with a sledgehammer.”
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Ms Olesya is a student at Northern (Arctic) Federal University in the northwestern city of Arkhangelsk. According to the outlet, she is currently under house arrest in her mother's apartment in Severodvinsk, Arkhangelsk region, and is banned from going online and using other forms of communication.
Speaking to CNN, Alexei Kichin, Ms Krivtsova's lawyer, said that the 19-year-old may face up to three years in prison for discrediting the Russian army and up to seven years in prison under the article of justification of terrorism. The lawyer explained that as Ms Olesya faced administrative charges in May for discrediting the Russian army by distributing anti-war posters, and then was accused of discrediting the Russian army on social media in October, her case might become more serious. According to Alexei Kichin, in Russia, a repeat offence under the same article turns into a criminal case.
Krivtsova's mother said that her daughter made her life hard on her own because she had a very high sense of justice. “The inability to remain silent is now a major sin in the Russian Federation,” she said.