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Love for Russia brought an American to the bunk in a pre-trial detention center near Moscow

“Do you believe me? I’m good!”

She stands in the middle of the cell so defenseless, in a red shaggy blouse.

Very similar to one of my classmates. So directly and want to call her Lena. Interesting blonde a little over forty.

Doesn’t look like a foreigner at all. And certainly not on the inhabitant of the pre-trial detention center. Awaiting appeal after a harsh sentence.

She immediately hugs me and sobs. It’s just real – tears from a huge pea roll down my cheeks, then drip onto a shaggy blouse, onto me.

“How could it be that I’m here? This is all not true. After all, I’m good-ro-shay,” Sarah Krivanek says with a noticeable accent. And burst into tears even more. “Do you believe me?”

Her story is truly out of the ordinary. domestic violence. He beat her. By drunk. She fought back and hit him back. He is her hands. She knifed him. On the nose. The police called did not investigate. A scratch is not a scratch. Guilty.

The victim is a simple peasant Mikhail Karavaev. The accused is a foreigner. And also an American.

“By the verdict of the Justice of the Peace of judicial district 157 of the Odintsovo judicial district … dated February 11, 2022, Sarah Rachel Krivanek was found guilty of committing crimes under Part 1 of Art. 119 p. “c”, part 2 of Art. 115, and she was sentenced to imprisonment for a period of one year and three months to be served in a colony-settlement.

The first charge of “threatening to kill or causing grievous bodily harm”, the second – of “intentional infliction of minor bodily harm”, in principle, both charges are not very compatible. Either a grave threat or slight harm, but there was the use of a weapon (a kitchen knife), it was. So socially dangerous.

Yes, Mikhail Karavaev was drunk, which he does not deny. The day before, Sarah had already been beaten by him, which is also not denied, she had several fingers broken on her hands (confirmed by a medical report and by Sarah herself, showing me crookedly fused phalanges), she had bruises on her legs and arms.

The next day was no better than the previous one. They never reconciled, and Michael slapped Sarah again. And she, in response, exceeded the limits of necessary defense.

But all this she could not explain in court.

But Karavaev could. He was against Sarah being imprisoned. He testified during the process that he did not want to beat her and generally repents of what happened.

“She apologized to me, I forgave her, I don’t want her to be prosecuted,” he pushed his speech in court. “She did not express any threats to my life, and I did not feel this threat, it was just a quarrel over my drinking. I myself was wrong, ”he repented.

“The police said that she would not be anything”

“I was drunk when the police interrogated me, well, it’s clear that I signed without looking, but I thought that we had already reconciled. So whatever I sign doesn’t matter. This is how the police explained to me that I needed to sign everything, and there would be no criminal charges. And nothing will happen to Sarah,” Mikhail readily explains to me over the phone.

I am reading Mikhail Karavaev’s explanatory note, attached to Sarah Krivanek’s appeal, while she is crying in the cell, where there are six other people besides her.

The walls in the cell are pink. For girls. In my opinion, this is very correct: they tune in a positive way.

The cellmates help Sarah settle in. And although they are all first-timers here, it is the hardest for her.

– How did you get carried away, Sarah, to Russia? I’m moving the conversation to something else.

Sarah stops crying for a second and remembers. What did she forget? By the way, Sarah is a mother of many children. She has adult sons and a daughter. “One son,” she sadly shows me her twisted finger. “The other one is dead.”

Sarah is from California. She was married to an American military man. Then she divorced him. It was a difficult time for her. Sarah became depressed. And on this basis I decided to learn Russian. “I have Russian ancestors, yes, yes, it’s true,” Sarah swears. My uncle said that I could temporarily go to Russia to practice my language. My great-grandmother lives in Petrozavodsk. This is Karelia. A very beautiful edge. I thought it was a great idea.” She pauses for effect. – But I never got to Karelia, because I stayed in Moscow for a long time. It’s such a beautiful city!”

It was an indescribable trip. American in Russia. One. Sarah did not just come here as a tourist, she wanted to get comfortable here. Live for a while. For real. Feel your roots.

Sarah provided tutoring services. All her social networks are full of admiring photos with children. While she taught the children English, they taught her Russian. “I wanted to be here so much! Everyone was happy with me.”

But with personal life not very lucky. That is, Sarah, of course, liked men, and she tells only good things about her previous boyfriend – before Mikhail. However, she also tells only good things about Michael. Until that sad day.

“But the first one was better. I was forced to get along with Mikhail, because I had problems with rent, finding suitable housing in Moscow is not so easy … And we came together, as I thought, literally for a short time. Because he drank, and I don’t like drinking men.”

– That is, he was your common-law husband? I ask Sarah.

The girls in the cell find a more suitable word, putting into it all the longing of a woman’s fate: “He was her roommate.”

Arrest while trying to escape

“He was my roommate,” Sarah resigns herself to the inevitable. “But I just didn’t have any other choice at the time. You see, I also have cats. This is an additional problem with rent. Few owners want cats. And I have a Meikun Draga and two more kittens. You don’t even know how much I love them. They are the most precious to me. I am so afraid that something bad will happen to them, because while I am in prison, they are all alone!” she exclaims with pain in her voice.

“Yes, everything is in order with her cats,” Mikhail reassures me on the phone. They are now living with a friend. I gave them to her.

And how in spirit he lays out his version of why Sarah ended up behind bars. It’s not really because of him.

Well, yes, they fought. But they didn’t put her in right away. Sent on bail.

“And then for some reason she went to the US Embassy – to consult what she should do so that she would not be imprisoned. I tell her: there is no need to go anywhere. Nothing will happen to you. We have reconciled. But she still went. And so they told her something that she urgently needed to fly to America, otherwise she would be imprisoned, well, she obeyed them … I should have obeyed, not them.

And so it happened. Here Michael does not deceive. On December 15 last year, Sarah Krivanek actually visited the US Embassy in Moscow, and then went to Sheremetyevo Airport, where she bought a ticket to her homeland. When she tried to board the plane, she was detained by the police, and the court immediately changed her preventive measure to detention in a pre-trial detention center. When trying to escape.

Another aggravating circumstance is that Sarah Krivanek’s tourist visa, issued in 2017, was valid until October 2020, that is, at the time of Sarah’s detention, it had already expired. There is an explanation for this: first the pandemic, then the difficulties with the work of the American embassy in Moscow. As we remember, the staff there was significantly reduced even before the complications in our relations. In the end, they seemed to say that due to these problems and the coronavirus, all expired visas would be automatically extended, but in reality this is also a minus for Sarah. On what basis was she in our country, whose citizen was hit in the nose with a kitchen knife?

The newspapers wrote that an American with an expired visa almost killed a Russian, and then tried to run away …

“American diplomats tried to arrange an “escape” for a citizen of the United States, Sarah Rachel Krivanek, who was under house arrest due to a death threat,” the media reported. – During the search, a folder with the details of the American embassy was found on her. Among the documents was a receipt on receipt from the diplomatic mission of funds for the flight.

Forgiveness cannot be planted

I look at the tearful Sarah, who loves Russian culture and Russian children. Sarah, who forgave her roommate Michael for forgiving her…

Saru, who has been in a cell with pink walls and other girls with a difficult fate for 3.5 months now, finds no reason for optimism. Everyone forgot about her. Everyone abandoned her. The guilty verdict on February 11, 2022 and the real term were a real blow for her.

As a human rights activist, I console her as much as I can. “They gave you a little more. While you are in jail, one day goes by one and a half. That is, you have been sitting not for 3.5 months, but for at least six months. Maybe you will not reach the colony-settlement. Maybe you’ll spend the whole time here waiting for an appeal. It usually takes us a long time.”

“Truth?! Sarah looks up at me, eyes full of tears again. – Truth?!”

Unfortunately, no circumstances extenuating Sarah Krivanek’s guilt were taken into account. And the decision of the Plenum of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 22, 2015 that when imposing a criminal penalty, one should be guided by an individual approach to a person, and not just plant it, was not taken into account either. And that Mikhail Karavaev forgave her and does not hold grudges. That their quarrel with assault, including from his side, thank God, did not lead to any serious consequences. In the end, that English tutor Sarah Krivanek does not represent any public danger to punish her so severely.

Sarah Krivanek is an ordinary woman. Not the Olympic champion Britney Griner, whose arrest was covered by all the world’s media.

Not the Israeli Naama Issachar, who was sentenced to 7.5 years by the Khimki court two years ago for smuggling 9.5 grams of hashish. And about whose freedom the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who flew in for the pardoned girl on a private plane, negotiated with Vladimir Putin.

The fate of Sarah Krivanek, to be honest, does not bother anyone at all. Especially against the backdrop of all the dramatic events that are taking place in the world today. A small man, quite according to Dostoevsky.

After an article in “MK” about the champion Britney Griner, the American consul immediately showed up, visited his compatriot, which, of course, is correct. Even a person who has broken the law should not remain alone and abandoned in a foreign country.

Alas, no one visits Sarah Krivanek. Not diplomats, not even Mikhail. “You see, I have problems with work now,” he explained to me, “I don’t have money to get to her. And still no transmission. But I will definitely choose. But after April 15 – just like a bayonet. Let her wait for me.”

I felt sorry for Sarah Krivanek, who fell in love with Russia and got into such a terrible bind here. It seems to me that she has already answered for everything she was guilty of, if she was.

After all, in any situation, you must first of all remain human. And to approach other people with the same yardstick with which we would like to be treated.

To continue to keep it here with the money of Russian taxpayers – why? Who benefits from this? Why shouldn’t our state forgive Sarah Krivanek generously and let her go home, since even the victim himself has long forgotten about his scratch on his nose?

Source From: MK

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