Russian woman who called Zelensky 'handsome' fined 40,000 rubles

Russian woman, 70, who called Ukrainian president Zelensky a ‘handsome young man’ is fined 40,000 rubles by Moscow court

  • Slegina’s trial at a Moscow Court lasted only five minutes and fined her £393 
  • She was interrogated and asked to sign a piece of paper she could not read 

A 70-year-old Russian woman has been charged for ‘discrediting’ the Russian military after describing Ukrainian President Zelensky, 45, as a ‘handsome young man’.

Olga Slegina was handed a 40,000 ruble (£393) fine for her comments made last December, according to the Memorial Human Rights Centre, based in Moscow.

At a health centre in Nalchik, near Georgia, she reportedly spoke to another woman who called Zelensky a ‘freak’, saying she thought he had ‘a good sense of humour’. 

In a Moscow Court hearing reported to have lasted only five minutes, the pensioner was charged under ‘war censorship’ laws introduced in March 2022.

Zelensky was a comedian and actor before he turned to politics. Slegina was tried for comments that included saying the Ukrainian President had a good sense of humour 

According to Memorial, Slegina was tried for her comments made at the sanatorium last year and charged under Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences.

The pensioner, from Moscow, was speaking to a woman from Odesa, Ukraine, over dinner about how to pronounce a Ukrainian word for a regional type of bread.

Waitress Natalya Zakharova joined the ‘humorous’ conversation on 24 December and was reported to have called Zelensky both ‘ugly’ and a ‘freak’ by different sources.

Slegina disregarded the comments, adding: ‘Everyone used to laugh at his jokes.

‘Don’t Ukrainians in your republic shout “Glory to Ukraine” like we do in Moscow?’ 

Zelensky was a comedian and actor before he entered politics.

The censorship laws were introduced in March 2022 to provide ‘huge administrative fines’ for people who ‘discredited’ the Russian Armed Forces and its operations.

This includes the ‘calls for prevention of the use of Russian Armed Forces for the interests of the Russia Federation’.

Three days later, Slegina was approached by a man in civilian clothes over the comments. He said three people had reported her to the police with statements.

She was taken to a police car and driven to a police station. They alleged that she had ‘praised Zelensky’, to which she said she had only remarked on his appearance. 

She was interrogated and asked to sign a document, which she reportedly could not read properly due her cataracts. 

She said she did not understand what was happening and wanted ‘everything to end quickly’.

Memorial said that the document sign ‘altered’ her words as reported previously.

Putin signed the censorship laws brought in on 4 March to issue punishments for the dissemination of so-called ‘unreliable information’ about the Russian armed forces

Due to underlying health issues, Slegina was unable to attend her trial.

The presiding judge said it was not a good reason to postpone the court session.

‘Slegina is not in intensive care… walks, alive, health,’ she said.

 Fined the equivalent of nearly £400, Slegina reportedly intends to file an appeal.

She was represented by a defence attorney from OVD-Info, an independent Russian human rights media project aimed at combating political persecution.

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