The woman who challenged Putin
Olga Li is a deputy of the Kursk regional duma. In March she published a video on YouTube of accusing Putin of destructing Russia. She is now being probed for incitement to hatred and risks up to two years in prison. Olga is not the type of opponent Putin is used to. She is a young journalist and regional deputy, mother of two, who lives in a Soviet apartment block on the outskirts of Kursk, 500 kilometers south of Moscow and not far from the border with Ukraine.
- Saturday, 16 April 2016
The video quickly became viral on the social network Vkontakte and was watched 381,000 times on YouTube receiving nearly 15,000 "likes".
After posting the video, Olga had to face the hostility of his fellow regional members. The deputy chairman of the Kursk regional Duma said he felt sorry for her. "You have two children, you should think about their future," he said during a session. And the Russian Investigative Committee, the superpower of attorney under the direct control of the Kremlin that usually deals with political cases, has opened a criminal case for “disseminating information aimed at inciting hatred and hostility to all officials in the institutions of state power”. According to the prosecution, this is criminal and harmful, and against Article 282 of the Criminal Code.
In the same days, Olga has also been sued for defamation for having accused on her newspaper, Narodniy Zhurnalist, some local politicians of corruption. The two proceedings will go on independently, and if there will ever be a trial, Olga would risk up to two years in prison.
A different kind of Russia
"The opening of a criminal case against me is simply absurd". Olga said. "Those who rob the Russian people are not held responsible but those who inform people about it are". Oddly, Olga says she has not yet received official notification from the Investigative Committee. The probe, however, has been publicly announced during a session of the Duma by his deputy chairman, Viktor Karamyshev, of Putin’s United Russia party. "We will be running in the same precinct, and he is a friend of the prosecutor. I think he knew of the criminal investigation even before it was launched", Olga said.
Since the beginning of this story, Olga has received a big support, especially online. In real life, however, things have become more difficult. Threats and attacks have already occurred. "Someone shot at me, someone cut the brake lines of my car, then someone attacked me with a knife".
But she has no intention of giving up. "Of course I am afraid, mostly for my kids. But I don’t want to leave Russia. I want to live in a different kind of Russia where human rights are not just something on paper".