American woman who served full Russian jail sentence cries foul over Brittney Griner special treatment

An American woman who was just released from a Russian penal colony after serving her full sentence for allegedly attacking her roommate with a knife is now crying foul over the way the Biden administration treated her versus how it treated Brittney Griner.

The woman, Sarah Krivanek, moved to Russia five years ago to teach English, but after a fight with a roommate last year whom she said was violent, she was arrested and subsequently sentenced to a year in a Russian penal colony, according to ABC News.

She was finally released on Dec. 8th after completing her sentence. Compare this to the case of WNBA star Brittney Griner, who served only 10 months of her nine-year sentence thanks to intervention from the Biden administration.

Speaking with ABC News this week, Krivanek said that she’s happy for Griner.

“I’m really glad she got out, I wrote her a letter and said: ‘Don’t worry, no one is going to leave you behind.’ I was genuinely worried. What is she going to do for nine years? I felt sorry for her. Then she got swapped. I genuinely had joy that she didn’t have to endure that,” she said of Griner.

But, she continued, she’s unhappy about the disparate treatment.

“Nobody ever came [for me]. It feels like my citizenship, my patriotism meant absolutely nothing. They might as well have just left me there. They completely threw out the fact that another US citizen was going through suffering with no support,” she explained.

“I’m angry at our us government for leaving me there to rot. They said ‘somebody is going to come to see you in the colony.’ Nobody ever came. All American citizens should get the same level of service no matter what the situation is. Don’t forget about me and don’t forget about the others,” she added.

In fairness, there is a difference between her and Griner, namely that, unlike the basketball star, Krivanek’s conviction was never classified by the U.S. government as illegitimate and unjustified.

Never mind that Griner was caught with liquid THC in Russia, where the sale and consumption of marijuana and its derivatives are completely illegal.

That being said, in a statement to ABC News, the State Department claimed it’d done the best it could with Krivanek.

“The U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas. U.S. Embassy Moscow provided assistance on the case of U.S. citizen Sarah Krivanek for more than a year. We monitored the case throughout the process, including attending deportation hearings. We coordinated with Russian authorities to facilitate Ms. Krivanek’s safe return to the United States,” the statement reads.

But Krivanek says this is bull.

“Krivanek disputes that claim and says that she was put on a commercial flight by deportation center agents from Russia and had to sign paperwork that required her to repay the U.S. government for the travel costs. She said she was given only $100 in cash and was forced to travel alone,” according to ABC News.

“She said she didn’t hear from anyone from the U.S. government during her imprisonment, except for a brief call that she made on a prison phone to a U.S. official who said they were working on her case and would send someone to visit her, but that visit did not occur. She only met with U.S. officials during her single deportation hearing.”

Now, what’s particularly interesting about Krivanek’s case is that she was sentenced just around the time the war in Ukraine erupted. She believes this isn’t a coincidence and that she would have been let off the hook if it weren’t for the war.

“I just fell into the system as a sacrifice, just at the wrong time. And because they were preparing to go to war with Ukraine, I became somebody on their radar,” she told ABC News.

“If this situation would have happened at an earlier time or a different time in history, I wouldn’t have been sentenced at all. But because it came on the heels of starting a war with Ukraine, they used this as leverage,” she continued.

Sadly, because of her experience in a Russian penal colony, Krivanek’s now dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. She’s also struggling to get over the fact that she’d been malnourished and reportedly assaulted by a fellow inmate.

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Vivek Saxena

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