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Russian Teen Faces Decade In Prison Camp for Anti-War Posts

Olesya Krivtsova. Video grab

Olesya Krivtsova, a first-year university student from the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk, is facing more than 10 years in a penal colony for publicly opposing the war in Ukraine on social media. 

Krivtsova, 19, stand accused of “justifying terrorism” and repeatedly “discrediting the Russian armed forces” for posts she made on her personal page on the Russian social network VKontakte and Instagram.

The materials posted by the teenage student included a list of recommendations aimed at Russian soldiers in Ukraine wanting to surrender that were originally published by the Ukrainian authorities, and photographs of Ukrainian civilians killed by invading Russian troops.

The Russian authorities were made aware of Krivtsova’s vocal pacifism from a report that was submitted by fellow university students from Russia’s Northern (Arctic) Federal University who participated in a group Telegram chat with her. 

“At the hearing, they mentioned the names of two people that I knew who were in that chat. In the chat those people were discussing how best to submit a denunciation: to the police or the security services,” Krivtsova said in an interview with independent Russian news website Current Time. 

Krivtsova was arrested in December following a police search of the Arkhangelsk apartment she shares with her husband.

During the search, one of the policemen reportedly tried to intimidate Krivtsova with a sledgehammer, a weapon used to kill a deserter from the notorious Wagner Group the previous month. Krivtsova and her husband were later told that the police visit was “a greeting from Wagner,” according to an earlier Current Time interview with Krivtsova’s mother.

In January, Krivtsova, who had been placed under house arrest until Feb. 13, was added to a list of groups and individuals designated terrorists and extremists by the Russian government. 

“I know perfectly well that my freedom can really be taken away. I can really be sent not just to jail but to a penal colony,” Krivtsova said in the interview published Monday.

“And yes, I’m just trying to accept that fact.” 

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