Russian authorities have fined the winner of this year’s Miss Crimea beauty pageant, Olga Valeyeva, after video emerged of her singing a patriotic Ukrainian song, Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported.
Valeyeva appeared alongside a friend in a video posted to Instagram singing “Chervona Kalyna,” a song that has become an anthem of Ukrainian resistance since the Kreimlin invaded its pro-Western neighbor in February.
Both women were charged with “discrediting” the Russian armed forces and “promoting extremist symbols.” Valeyeva, who has young children, was fined 40,000 rubles ($677), while her friend was sentenced to 10 days in prison.
A video posted on the Crimean Interior Ministry’s Telegram channel Monday showed the women apologizing for singing the song.
The case is not the first of its kind in Russian-controlled Crimea, where Kremlin-appointed regional head Sergei Aksyonov, has warned people against “chanting pro-Ukrainian slogans” and “singing nationalist songs.”
Last month, six people were arrested or fined for playing “Chervona Kalyna” at a wedding reception on the peninsula.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, in a move that has not been recognized by the international community.
Russia Jails Elderly Crimean Woman for 12 Years in Ukraine Spy Trial
A Russian-controlled court in Crimea said Monday it has jailed an elderly woman for 12 years after finding her guilty of spying for Ukraine.
The Sevastopol city court said in a statement that the woman — identified only by the initial D., her birth year of 1955 and residence of the town of Bakhchysarai — had been recruited into “secret cooperation” with the Ukrainian military and intelligence.
“She collected information about the Black Sea Fleet’s aviation regiment,” the court said, accusing D. of collecting the fleet’s peacetime call signs and other communications data.
The court said it found D. guilty of high treason last Wednesday and sentenced her to 12 years in a penal colony.
The case was heard behind closed doors because it involved state secrets.
The state-run TASS news agency, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, identified the convicted spy as Galina Dovgopolaya.
The Crimean Human Rights Group said Russian authorities detained 66-year-old Dovgopolaya and transferred her under guard to Moscow in November 2019.
Hundreds of Crimeans, mostly Crimean Tatars, have been jailed on espionage and terrorism charges since Russia annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.
Rights groups accuse Russia of jailing ideological opponents there.
Crimea’s largely bloodless annexation by militia forces who later turned out to be Russian troops was followed by war between pro-Russian separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine that has claimed more than 13,000 lives.
Europe’s human rights court ruled in January to admit Ukraine’s complaint against Russian human rights violations in Crimea in 2014-2015. The court said it will not rule on whether Crimea’s annexation was legal under international law.