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Ms Crimea’s beauty queen is convicted of ‘discrediting’ Putin’s army by singing pro-Ukrainian song

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A Miss Crimea beauty queen winner has been convicted of “discrediting” Vladimir Putin’s army by singing a pro-Ukrainian song.

Olga Valeyeva, 34, posted a video of her and a friend singing Chervona Kalyna, an anthem of the Ukrainian resistance, on her Instagram account.

Valeyeva won Ms. Crimea’s crown this year, but the clip got the mother of two in trouble on the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

Under the draconian Russian laws introduced to combat criticism of Putin’s army following the despot’s invasion of mainland Ukraine in February, Valeyeva was fined, while her friend was jailed for 10 days.

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Olga Valeyeva (right), 34, posted a video of her and a friend singing Chervona Kalyna, an anthem of the Ukrainian resistance, on her Instagram account. Both women were charged under draconian Russian laws prohibiting criticism of the Russian military

Olga Valeeva

Olga Valeeva

The mother of two (pictured) won this year’s Miss Crimea beauty pageant, but the clip in which she sings the pro-Ukraine got her into trouble in the Russian-annexed area of ​​Crimea

Both women were charged with “discrediting” the Russian armed forces and “promoting extremist symbols” by singing the song in Ukrainian – while Moscow’s troops are still being driven back by the forces of Kiev on the mainland.

Russian prosecutors claimed they “displayed Nazi symbols in public,” although Putin’s officials now chose to consider Ukrainian symbols to be Nazis.

They were forced to record a video to obsequiously apologize for their act.

Putin’s repressive police consider the song “a hymn of Ukrainian nationalist formations, including groups banned in Russia.” Crimea is Ukraine under international law. It was seized by Putin’s armed forces in 2014.

Valeyeva was fined £600, seen as a lighter sentence because she has young children. Her friend Viktoria Amargalieva, 33, was thrown behind bars for ten days.

In her humble apology, Olga said: “I sincerely apologize for the singing of Chervona Kalina, which I had no idea.

Olga Valeeva

Olga Valeeva

Valeyeva (pictured) was fined £600, seen as a lighter sentence because she has young children. Her friend Viktoria Amargalieva, 33, was thrown behind bars for ten days.

Valeyeva's friend Viktoria Amargalieva (pictured) was jailed for ten days for singing the pro-Ukrainian song.  Valeyeva was fined - seen as a lighter sentence - for being a mother of two young children

Valeyeva’s friend Viktoria Amargalieva (pictured) was jailed for ten days for singing the pro-Ukrainian song. Valeyeva was fined – seen as a lighter sentence – for being a mother of two young children

‘I didn’t know or imagine it was nationalistic and I didn’t mean any propaganda message by singing it. I also want to apologize for unknowingly insulting or insulting civilians by singing this song.”

Before she was put in jail, Amargalieva said, “I want to apologize for performing a song with a meaning we didn’t know.

“I apologize to anyone who may have been offended.”

Instagram is theoretically banned as extremist in Russia, although many people – including Putin’s own officials – continue to use and access it using VPNs.

Putin’s law enforcement officers are using draconian new comprehensive laws to “discredit” his invading army to even the mild criticism of his war that has cost hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian and Russian lives.

Chervona Kalyna was a patriotic march first published in 1875. It was modernized by the composer Stepan Charnetsky in 1914, in honor and memory of the Sich Riflemen of World War I.

The two women were forced to record a video to apologize for their act

The two women were forced to record a video to apologize for their act

It was later adopted by both the Ukrainian People’s Army of the Ukrainian War of Independence and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army of the Second World War, and has since taken many forms and many covers have been made of it.

Singing the song was banned while Ukraine was under the Soviet Union (from 1919 to 1991), but it was sung anyway. Those caught singing the song were often imprisoned, beaten or exiled.

The song was given a new lease of life with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and now after Putin’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

It gained international attention in March when an a cappella rendition by Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Ukrainian band BoomBox went viral and was remixed by several artists around the world – including Pink Floyd.

Chlyvnyuk was touring the United States when Russia invaded on February 24. He returned home to fight for his homeland, and released the video in which he sang the song – wearing army gear – while standing in a square in Kiev.

The song reached the top of the Ukrainian charts in 2022, with Russian officials specifically citing it as an example of a song that would lead to punishment.

It contains lyrics such as ‘March forward, our fellow volunteers, in a bloody struggle, to free our brother Ukrainians from the Muscovite shackles’ and ‘Oh in the field of early spring wheat, there is a golden furrow, then began the Ukrainian archers to attack the enemy.’

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