Russian authorities have fined Miss Crimea, Olga Valeyeva, for singing a Ukrainian song that they said “discredited” the Russian army.
34-year-old Valeyeva was fined 40,000 Russian rubles (US$680) for singing the Ukrainian song “Oi u luzi chervona kalyna” in a video shared on her Instagram stories.
Valeyeva, who was crowned Miss Crimea 2022, avoided a jail sentence as she had underaged children, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
Meanwhile, her friend, who is seen joining her in singing the song in the video, was given a 10-day prison sentence.
“Oi u luzi chervona kalyna” – which translates to “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow” – was first released in 1914 as a patriotic Ukrainian song and popular among the independence movement in Ukraine.
Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014, receiving widespread condemnation from the international community, and Russian authorities in Crimea said the women “sang a song that is the battle anthem of an extremist organization.”
A spokesman of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Crimea said their actions “aimed at discrediting the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as publicly displaying prohibited symbols.”
Valeyeva has denied knowing the context of the song.
“I just sang a Ukrainian song without any deeper meanings,” the beauty queen told local media, according to the BBC.
Authorities have shared a video of the two women, with their faces blurred, publicly apologizing for singing the song.
The song has had multiple versions throughout the years, with English rock band Pink Floyd producing a cover under the title of “Hey Hey Rise Up”.
On Sep. 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the country is annexing four partly occupied areas of Ukraine after holding sham referendums in the regions.