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Woman Sharing Name With Zelensky Relative Harassed By Pro-Kremlin Media

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Muscovite Olga Vitalyevna Kiyashko has long known that she shares a name with the mother-in-law of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

But she hadn’t feared that her namesake would cause problems until supposed pro-Kremlin journalists began to knock at her door. 

“I’m beginning to fear for myself, even though I’m a fearless person,” Kiyashko, who said she has no relatives in Ukraine, told the Mediazona news website Monday.

The 53-year-old said alarm bells rang last Friday, when neighbors sent her surveillance footage of two men asking another neighbor about “Vladimir Timofeyevich and Olga Vitalylevna Kiyashko.”

Kiyashko did not know the pair. But she later found out that pro-Kremlin Orthodox television channel Tsargrad had published an “investigation” from blogger Sergei Zergulio Kolyasnikov claiming to uncover properties linked to the Zelensky family in suburban Moscow. These properties included an apartment “registered in the name of Zelensky’s mother-in-law” — in other words, Kiyashko.

										 					Photo from Olga Kiyashko's personal archive
Photo from Olga Kiyashko's personal archive

The men also visited another Moscow apartment where Kiyashko is officially registered, but doesn’t currently live.

However, the investigation ignored key details that would undermine claims that Moscow’s Olga Vitalyevna Kiyashko and Zelensky’s mother-in-law were the same person.

“The fact that [Zelensky’s] mother-in-law was born in 1953 and I was born in 1965 doesn’t confuse anyone,” she told Mediazona. “Whoever sent them is deliberately creating a fake. They probably know full well that I’m not her and she’s not me.”

The reports have still gained traction online, with pro-Kremlin pundit Vladimir Solovyov sharing one of the unverified reports to his audience of more than 1 million subscribers.

Kiyashko told Mediazona that she’s now concerned she could be arrested based on the mistaken identity. 

“I’m afraid I might become a part of some kind of plan,” she said, adding that she had attended rallies against Russia’s war in Ukraine.

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