“Hello, I’m Olesya and I’m writing to you on my own behalf for the first time! Now I’m in Lithuania and I can’t believe that everything is over” – this was the message that appeared on the Telegram channel of Olesya Krivtsova’s supporters in the evening of March 15. It was accompanied by a video in which the girl removes an electronic bracelet from her leg, writes the independent Russian publication Novaya Gazeta.
A little later, a source for Novaya Gazeta confirmed that the student, accused of two criminal offences, had fled Russia. The details of his escape have not been disclosed; Krivtsova spent the last months under house arrest.
Olesya Krivtsova is a second-year student at SAFU – Arkhangelsk Federal University. The city of almost 350,000 inhabitants is located in the northern Arctic.
Two criminal cases were opened against her: on December 13 – for discrediting the Russian army and on December 26 – for justifying terrorism. Both cases were based on social media posts and a closed-circuit Internet chat of her classmates, who wrote the complaint about Olesya.
Her case attracted international media attention in January.
According to Russian journalists, in the chat, Olesya’s colleagues discussed the need to inform the authorities about her case. During the discussion, one of the students remarked, “A denunciation is a patriotic duty.”
Law enforcement agencies were able to quickly initiate proceedings: previously, Krivtsova had already been fined 30,000 rubles for displaying flyers on Lenin Square stating that veterans of the Great Patriotic War also lived in Ukraine.
On the morning of December 26, the apartment where the 19-year-old student lived with her husband was searched. The police officers brought a sledgehammer with them. One of them, as the girl later told the journalists, would have said that “the sledgehammer is a wish from the Wagner group.” Olesya was detained, the investigation demanded her arrest, but the court refused.
A few days later, Krivtsova was detained again right on the street. And again they demanded that she be taken to the pre-trial detention center. It turned out that on the second day after the previous hearing, the girl was put on the wanted list, because she was allegedly not found in the village of Uemskoye, where she had previously lived. However, she was not forbidden to leave her home, nor was she forced to stay in Uemskoye. Investigators also claimed that several train tickets to different destinations were bought in Olesya’s name, but also that she intends to leave the country.
However, the court ordered that Krivtsova be placed under house arrest. On March 10, it was extended by another two months.
Olesya’s relatives have now confirmed to journalists that the girl has left the country.
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