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Mrs Crimea beauty queen is convicted of 'discrediting' Putin's army by singing pro-Ukraine song

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

A Ms Crimean beauty queen has been found guilty of ‘discrediting’ Vladimir Putin’s army by singing a pro-Ukrainian song.

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

Valeyeva won the Ms Crimea crown this year, but the clip has the mother-of-two struggling on the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

Under Russia’s draconian laws introduced to suppress criticism of Putin’s army following the despot’s invasion of mainland Ukraine in February, Valeyeva was fined, while her friend was was imprisoned for ten days.

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

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

Olga Valeeva

Olga Valeeva

The mother-of-two (pictured) won this year’s Ms Crimea beauty pageant but the clip of her singing pro-Ukraine got her into trouble in the annexed Russian territory of Crimea

The two women have been accused of ‘discrediting’ the Russian armed forces and ‘promoting extremist symbols’ by singing the song in Ukrainian – as forces from Moscow continue to be pushed back by Kyiv forces on the mainland.

Russian prosecutors claimed to have “displayed Nazi symbols in public”, although Putin officials have now opted to consider all Ukrainian symbols Nazi.

They were forced to record a video offering a creeping apology for their act.

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

Valeyeva was fined £600, considered a lighter sentence as 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 singing Chervona Kalina, the meaning of which I had no idea.

Olga Valeeva

Olga Valeeva

Valeyeva (pictured) was fined £600, seen as a lighter sentence as 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 received the fine - believed to be a lighter sentence - because she is a mother of two young children

Valeyeva’s friend Viktoria Amargalieva (pictured) was jailed for ten days for singing the pro-Ukrainian song. Valeyeva received the fine – believed to be a lighter sentence – because she is a mother of two young children

“I didn’t know or imagine it was nationalistic and I in no way meant to say a propaganda message by singing it. I also want to apologize for unknowingly offending or insulting citizens by singing this song.

Before being imprisoned, Amargalieva said: “I want to apologize for performing a song with a meaning that we did not know.

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

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

Putin’s law enforcers are using draconian new catch-all laws to ‘discredit’ his invading army to override even mild criticism of his war that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians .

Chervona Kalyna was a patriotic march first published in 1875. It was modernized in 1914 by 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 offering a creeping apology for their act

The two women were forced to record a video offering a creeping apology 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 World War II, and has since taken many forms and been the subject of many covers.

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

The song took on new life with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, and now after Putin’s full-scale 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 various artists around the world, including Pink Floyd.

Khlyvnyuk was on tour in the United States when Russia invaded on February 24. He returned home to fight for his home country and posted the video of himself singing the song – while wearing military fatigues – standing in a square in Kyiv.

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

It includes lyrics such as “Let us march forward, our fellow volunteers, into a bloody melee, to free our Ukrainian brothers from the Muscovite shackles”, and “Oh in the wheat field of early spring there is a furrow of gold, then began the Ukrainian skirmishers to engage the enemy.

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