Influencer faces jail for using Instagram
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Featured Image Credit: East2West
An 18-year-old Russian Instagram influencer has been threatened with jail time for using the social media platform.
Shortly after, on 14 March, Russia's communications agency banned the use of Instagram, claiming it 'calls for violence against Russians'.
While some influencers were left in tears at their livelihoods and incomes becoming restricted, Veronika Loginova now faces an even more harrowing prospect of a six year jail sentence.
She explained her terrifying situation to her followers:
Loginova - who has amassed 584,000 followers on the social media platform - is a beauty and fashion influencer.
Despite not posting political content, the 18-year-old has been accused of 'extremist activity'.
She said: "This can now happen to anyone in Russia. Any day prosecutors can come to your house - please share…What’s going on?
"I never touched politics and now I face six years in jail…for running Instagram."
She was told by two state prosecutors from Kuntsevskaya Interdistrict Prosecutor's Office that her Instagram and YouTube - with a total of over one million followers combined - is an example of 'extremism' in how it's allegedly 'performing actions to attract users to social networks Facebook and Instagram' and 'stands out too much'.
The influencer responded: "Really? Do I? An 18-year-old fashion blogger? An entrepreneur, creator of my own clothing brand that pays taxes to her own country? A person who writes posts about mental health support, and has never once touched on a political agenda on her blog?
"Yeah. There you go. You live, you make pretty pictures, you build a business, you help people, you don't touch anyone.
"But you live in Russia, and among a million bloggers, they come to you."
Loginova has questioned what she will do now, and whether she will have to quit Instagram, sue, or flee the country altogether.
Despite Instagram having been banned earlier this year, with 80 million Russians no longer able to access the popular social media platform, some of the country's elite have retained their ability to use the site.
The wife of Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov - who has been outspoken on cracking down on social media use in the country - and Olympic skater Tatiana Navka has managed to continue using Instagram without facing any apparent repercussions from authorities.
And sports blogger Alexey Stolyarov, who shared a topless image of Ksenia Shoigu - the daughter of the Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation, on Instagram, also continues to somehow use the platform despite the ban.
Meanwhile, others have resorted to using VPNs in order to gain access.
Despite the accusations against her and the threat of imprisonment, Loginova said: "Good morning, you woke up in Russia. And while we don’t speak about such things, I will still speak."
The influencer has vowed to 'get to the bottom of it' and to 'cover it' via her Instagram.
She continued: "Thankfully, I have support in the form of people who understand that this is not normal.
"This is totally f* up. And I want as many people as possible to know about this story.
"I would be grateful to anyone who can support me by reposting and highlighting the situation. It's really important."
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