The quiet courage of Olesya K

On December 26, 2022, Russian police stormed the apartment of nineteen-year-old University student Olesya Krivtsova, threatened her with a sledgehammer, then arrested her for terrorism. She’d been denounced to the FSB by fellow students and a vigilante troll. Her crime? An Instagram post questioning the war in Ukraine. But this isn’t a story about a teenager’s naive mistake; it’s a story about the courage to speak truth to power even in the face of its wrath, gently, and without rancor.

This post is essentially the journal I kept while following the story, which was reported in various news outlets and blogs over the months. I’ve listed the main sources at the end, especially for the pictures.

As I followed this story, I was struck by the recurring pattern of history: snitching and denunciation in a totalitarian police state; the pathos of a new generation, including University history students, blind to the lessons of the past, meekly buying into the …