An 18-year-old Russian social media star says authorities threatened her with six years in prison for posting on Instagram.
In March, Russia banned Western social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram for promoting “extremist” activities, but Veronika Loginova says she has never used her account, where she is followed by half a million people, to -express political opinions.
In a statement shared on the social platform on September 21, Loginova said she got a call from her mother while she was away in Paris, who told her she was wanted at home by the police, according to Vice.
The NGO Roskomsvoboda, a public organization dedicated to protecting the rights of Russians in cyberspace, says that Loginova is the first person prosecuted by a judicial body in Russia since the banning of the respective networks.
In the statement on Instagram, Loginova says that “two men” entered the house and told her mother that they were looking for her because “it stood out too much.”
“This is not normal”she says, noting that she uses her Instagram to post about “mental health and fashion.”
“Now I’m facing up to 6 years in prison for posting on Instagram.”
“Good morning, you woke up in Russia. And we don’t usually talk about it, but I’ll say it. On August 17, I was in Paris and I received a call from my mother who said with a trembling voice: The police came to our house and are looking for you.
Meanwhile, my 14-year-old brother is trying to figure out what’s going on and why there are two men in the hallway who had something to say.
They said I was facing 6 years in prison for using Instagram. And that they “stand out too much”. Seriously? I? An 18-year-old fashion blogger? Entrepreneur, creator of a clothing brand that pays taxes in its own country? A person who posts about mental health and has never touched a political topic on the blog? Yes. Simply.
You live, you take beautiful photos, you build a business, you help people, you don’t upset anyone. But you live in Russia and out of a million bloggers choose to come to you.
Looks like I’m the first. What am I going to do? Should I quit Instagram? Should I flee Russia? Fortunately, I have the support of some people who understand. This is not normal. And I want this story to be heard by as many people as possible.“
The young woman concluded: “I will be grateful to everyone who can support me by sharing my message. This is really important.”