Family of LA girl charged with treason in Russia speaks out: ‘If we don’t assist her, no one else will’ | EUROtoday

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Okaysenia Karelina had been wanting ahead to spending New Year’s Eve together with her household. Though she’d way back chosen to settle within the USA, she’d stored in contact together with her family members again in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Instead, it seems that the 32-year-old twin citizen is confined in a Russian jail cell on costs of excessive treason – all for allegedly sending $51.80 to a Ukrainian charity.

“She’s just that kind of person,” Karelina’s former mother-in-law Eleonara Srebroski, 56, tells The Independent. “If somebody needs help, she will be helping. Whether it’s an animal, or a child, or a grown-up, she’s the one who is always opening her heart and her wallet.”

According to Russian human rights activists, Karelina – also referred to as Ksenia Khavana, after her first husband – was arrested on public order costs in late January exterior a cinema in Yekaterinburg, earlier than being charged with treason this month.

The nation’s infamous Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed in a press release this week that an unnamed girl, later recognized by Russian media as Karelina, had been “proactively collecting funds” for the Ukrainian warfare effort.

Now Srebroski has a stark message for the federal government and folks of her former daughter-in-law’s adopted nation.

“If we do not do anything, she is going to die in jail,” she says. “She does not have any hope to get out, because they do not have any justice [in Russia].

“And if we as a rustic don’t assist her to come back again right here, to the place she is… we’ll lose a good looking particular person.”

(Ksenia Karelina via Facebook)

‘She is just sunshine’

Ksenia Karelina appeared in Srebroski’s life back in 2012, when she visited the older woman’s Baltimore home hand in hand with Srebroski’s son Evgeny Khavana.

The young woman had come to the USA from Russia on a work and travel programme, where she met Evgeny. As it happened, she and Srebroski originally came from the same region: the Ural mountains, of which Yekaterinburg is the district capital.

Though Karelina and Evgeny married in 2013, the relationship didn’t last, and she eventually moved to California. Still, they remained friends, and Karelina made an effort to keep in touch with Srebroski, reaching out for birthdays and other holidays.

“She is the one who won’t ever be impolite to anybody. She is simply sunshine; full of affection, positivity, smiles, care,” says Srebroski, who has lived in the US for 24 years. She refers to Karelina as “Ksyusha”, the diminutive form of Ksenia.

“I do not know anyone who wouldn’t like her. I’m truly the one who is meant to dislike her, as a result of she is my ex daughter-in-law. And I nonetheless adore her, due to her character.”

Over the years, Karelina built a new life for herself out in Los Angeles. She worked at a luxury hotel spa in Beverly Hills, often posting joyful photos in Facebook.

Having attended dance school as a child, she passionately pursued her hobby of ballet, and travelled keenly across the US and beyond. In 2021, she became a US citizen.

“She’s an excellent pal,” says Srebroski. “Funny, outgoing, honest, sort. Smiling on a regular basis, discovering good in something.

“She was happy when she was selling fruit and vegetables off of a food stand here [in Baltimore] as a student… she will always be happy in any circumstances.”

Accused of ‘petty hooliganism’, then treason

Karelina was meant to return from Russia by the start of February, having spent the brand new yr together with her mother and father, grandparents, and youngest sister.

That is in response to Srebroski, who has not spoken personally to Karelina in additional than a yr however says her son was within the loop about her journey plans.

When he did not hear from her, he was confused – till the information broke about her arrest.

Isabella Koretz, Karelina’s boss on the Ciel Spa in Beverly Hills, gave a barely completely different account of her journey plans, telling native broadcaster KTLA that her firm turned involved when Karelina didn’t present up for work as deliberate in mid-January.

Karalina celebrates her US citizenship in 2021

(Ksenia Karelina through Facebook/First Department)

According to Russian media, Karelina was initially accused of “petty hooliganism”. Court officers stated she had used “coarse, obscene language in front of other citizens, and was behaving rudely and defiantly.”

The officers additional claimed that she violently resisted arrest. On 29 January she was reportedly discovered responsible and sentenced to 14 days in jail.

Things appeared to vary after she filed a grievance about her arrest with the courtroom. The FSB now claims that she donated cash to Razom, a Ukrainian assist charity based mostly in New York City, on the day of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The charity raises cash for humanitarian assist and medical tools, and its web site says that it typically gives the latter to Ukrainian army models in addition to civilian emergency companies.

Razom’s chief govt Dora Chomiak informed the New York Post that she was “appalled” by Karelina’s arrest, and referred to as on the US authorities to “do everything in its power” to safe her launch, together with others who’ve been “unjustly detained”.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly shown that he holds no sovereign border, foreign nationality, or international treaty above his own narrow interest. His regime attacks civil society activists who stand up for freedom and democracy,” she stated.

‘If we don’t assist her, no one else will’

Speaking to The IndependentSrebroski declines to debate the main points of Karelina’s alleged donation, as a result of she didn’t need to put her in peril.

But she says Karelina had recurrently donated to a variety of GoFundMe pages and different charitable causes, together with serving to Srebroski herself when she was identified with most cancers 12 years in the past.

“She was keeping in touch with me to check how I’m doing, medically and physically, all the time, because she’s just a very compassionate person. Very sincere, sympathetic,” Srebroski stated.

Indeed, Karelina’s Facebook web page confirmed a number of posts linking to fundraising pages earlier than it turned inaccessible on Tuesday night.

Asked what message she would give to Karelina’s captors, Srebroski says she has nothing – as a result of there’s “no point”.

“I cannot talk to my family who are in Russia. They’re brainwashed, they think we are enemies,” she says. “I have a very hard time communicating with my sister and my childhood friends, because they think I’m a traitor since I myself support Ukraine.

“So if I’ve to speak to the officers, what can I inform them that they do not already know? The complete nation is roofed with lies. They belief what they have been informed on TV… they imagine every part, even issues that don’t make any sense.”

She is scornful about American TV host Tucker Carlson’s recent interview with Vladimir Putin, which even the Russian dictator criticised as too soft – and whose release coincided, deliberately or otherwise, with Karelina’s treason charges.

The unexplained death in prison of famed opposition leader Alexei Navalny last week – which supporters have blamed squarely on Putin – underscores the potential consequences for those who defy the Russian government.

For now, Srebroski says she wants to make as much noise as possible to bring attention to Karelina’s plight.

“Things are getting merciless there,” she says. “I imply, it has been powerful on a regular basis, however now it is much more devastating and drastic. So I’m very involved that she’s going to undergo a number of bodily abuse there…

“If we do not help her as a country, because she’s an American citizen, nobody else will.”