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Russian Student Who Fled 'Army Discrediting' Charges Added to Wanted List

Olesya Krivtsova during a court hearing. SOTA

A Russian university student has been added to the federal wanted list after she fled the country to evade prosecution for criticizing the war in Ukraine, the independent Sota news outlet reported Monday. 

Olesya Krivtsova, 20, from the northern city of Arkhangelsk, faces more than 10 years in prison on charges of “justifying terrorism” and repeatedly “discrediting” the Russian Armed Forces over social media posts criticizing the war.

She fled house arrest to European Union and NATO member Lithuania on March 15.

“I'm in Lithuania now and I can't believe it's all over,” the student wrote on her Telegram channel that day. “Russia will be free!”

Several days later, Krivtsova’s name appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list, Sota reported. 

A court in Arkhangelsk on Monday ruled to replace Krivtsova’s house arrest with imprisonment in absentia. 

The Moscow Times has reached out to Krivtsova for comment.

Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service in January placed Krivtsova on its list of terrorists and extremists. Russian banks are required to freeze the accounts of individuals and organizations placed on this registry.

The Nobel-winning human rights organization Memorial this month recognized Krivtsova as a political prisoner.

She is one of 57 people in Russia to have been charged with “discrediting the Russian Armed Forces,” according to the human rights group OVD-Info. 

Russia passed laws effectively outlawing public criticism of the invasion of Ukraine last spring.

Krivtsova’s charges stem from her reposting a friend's criticism of fellow students who supported Russia-staged referendums in occupied Ukrainian regions last fall, as well as a post justifying the Crimean Bridge explosion in October. 

She was reported to law enforcement by fellow students at Russia’s Northern (Arctic) Federal University.

In a recent interview, Krivtsova said she wants to continue her studies at the European Humanities University in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius and pursue a career in journalism.

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