Olesia is new journalist in the Barents Observer
“I still feel a bit stressed, but at the same time I am very happy,” she says on her first day of employment in the north Norwegian newsroom.
“Today, I published my first article, and it was very exciting. I know that I now stand responsible for every word I write.”
Krivtsova is the fourth Russian exile journalist employed by the Barents Observer. All of them left Russia following the full-scale attack on Ukraine and the introduction of rigorous repression against journalists.
Olesia has herself dearly felt the oppressive actions of the FSB and Russian government officials.
When she was a student at the Federal University in Arkhangelsk (NArFU) she put up anti-war stickers around town and posted comments against Putin and the Russian regime on social media.
In late December 2022, police officers broke into her apartment, handcuffed her and took her to he police station for questioning. She was soon charged under the new Russian extremist laws for “discrediting the Army and justifying terrorism,” and faced up to ten years in jail.
In March, Krivtsova managed to flee house arrest and make it to Lithuania. When safe in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, she posted a video on Telegram showing her removal of the electronic tracking bracelet from her leg, throwing it away and showing a “Freedom” sign.
Olesia was shortly later invited to Kirkenes to be a student at the Barents Observer, and on the 21st of August, she was formally employed as journalist in the bilingual newspaper.
“We are extremely happy to have Olesia on board in our news team,” says Editor Thomas Nilsen. “She is very talented and brave, and is a good writer. She has unique personal experiences from the Russian North; from student life, civil society and the repressive actions of the FSB that are almost without comparison,” says Nilsen.
He is confident that Krivtsova is the right person for his newspaper.
“We want to support the rise of a new generation of Russian journalists,” he underlines.
As reporter in the Barents Observer, Krivtsova says she will devote most of her work to stories about the war in Ukraine, repression in Russia, women’s rights, as well as environmental issues in the North.