70-Year-Old Called Zelensky 'Handsome,' Then the Cops Came

Olga Slegina, 70, convicted of 'discrediting the Russian army'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2023 7:32 AM CDT
70-Year-Old Called Zelensky 'Handsome.' Then Police Showed Up
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022.   (Genya Savilov, Pool Photo via AP)

A 70-year-old Russian woman accused of supporting Ukraine in part because she said its president was "handsome" has been sanctioned by a Moscow court for "discrediting the Russian army." Olga Slegina was fined about $490 for comments made in December, the Daily Beast reports. She was staying at a medical clinic in Nalchik, the capital of Russia's Kabardino-Balkaria republic on the border with Georgia, when she was involved in a dining room discussion of Ukraine. In particular, she disagreed with a Ukrainian woman from the city of Odesa who described President Volodymyr Zelensky as a "freak," according to Ukrainian media outlet Ukrainska Pravd.

"Zelensky is a handsome young man with a good sense of humor, everyone laughed at his jokes earlier," Slegina reportedly said. She also reportedly asked, "Don't Ukrainians in your republic shout 'Glory to Ukraine,' as they do here in our Moscow?" A man appeared in Slegina's room days later, claiming three people had made statements about her to police, per Ukrainska Pravd. She was then taken to a police station and interrogated. "You have no right to praise [Zelensky] because he is our enemy," an officer told her, according to the Russian Human Rights Centre Memorial, which has highlighted the case. Slegina claimed she was also forced to sign a document that she couldn't read due to cataracts.

It stated Slegina had shouted "Glory to Ukraine," "expressed her dissatisfaction with the situation in the country," and claimed "Russian soldiers are fleeing the war," per the Russian Free Press. She was represented in the Shcherbinsky District Court of Moscow by a lawyer from human rights group OVD-Info, who tried to postpone the hearing due to Slegina's poor health. She suffers severe pain and is seeing a neurologist, according to the Memorial. The judge reportedly responded that "Slegina is not in intensive care" so the hearing would go on. It lasted no more than five minutes. After refusing to request video evidence from the dining room, the judge convicted and fined Slegina, according to the Memorial, which adds the 70-year-old plans to file an appeal. (More Russia stories.)

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