A RUSSIAN influencer faces up to five years in jail after “tickling” the breast of a famous war statue.
Alena Agafonova, 23, landed herself in hot water after posting a video beneath The Motherland Calls monument in Volgograd, southwest Russia, on Instagram last year.
The memorial, a 279ft statue of a woman brandishing a sword, commemorates the “Heroes of the Battle of Stalingrad” – one of World War 2’s most epic battles.
In the video, which is now officially banned in Russia, Alena appears to “tickle” the figure’s right breast.
She went into hiding in Sri Lanka soon after the film was made.
Alena was subsequently put on Russia’s wanted list following the incident and was held this week as she arrived back in her homeland.
The influencer was immediately transported from Moscow to Volgograd and is now detained for two months pending further investigations.
She issued a humbling apology for her act but still faces criminal prosecution in Volgograd and a sentence of up to five years.
Alena has been accused of “desecration of a burial site” and “cynical actions that disregard the norms of morality”, as well as the “rehabilitation of Nazism”.
Her hounding shows the new morality in Russia under Vladimir Putin amid the war with Ukraine.
The authorities are cracking down on any behaviour seen as anti-patriotic or in defiance of “traditional values”.
Footage showed Alena handcuffed as a law enforcement officer berated her for her behaviour.
“I am informing you that the investigative department for the Central district of Volgograd has a criminal case against you for the desecration of a symbol of military glory of Russia,” he said.
The officer added that her video had been an “insult to the memory of defenders of the fatherland”.
Alena then appeared to have been ordered to make a public apology – an increasing trend in Putin’s repressive state with those who flout the ever-stricter laws.
“I address all residents of Russia and Volgograd and ask everyone not to commit the acts I did last year because of my stupidity,” she said.
“I didn’t even think that I could insult someone’s feelings.”
“I ask all Russian citizens for forgiveness.”
Separately, she offered “deep apologies” for her stunt.
The statue is among the most famous in Russia and commemorates those who fought and died in one of the bloodiest battles in the Second World War, resulting in a decisive Soviet victory against Adolf Hitler.
The USSR suffered more than one million casualties during the Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted from August 1942 until February 1943.
Separately, social activist Rasul Akhiyaretdinov has called for Putin to cover up The Motherland Calls statue.
He was embarrassed by her “openly protruding nipples” in which he said he discerned “homosexual moments and a decline in morality”.
The statue, which dates from the Soviet era in 1967, could be upsetting to both Orthodox and Muslim Russians, Akhiyaretdinov claims.
“It would be better if the Motherland was more covered,” he said.
He plans to appeal to Putin to call for a cover-up.
Elsewhere, a pair of female Russian influencers were forced into abject apologies and will face hefty fines over a kiss they posted on social media.
Vlada Alchaeva, 24, and her friend Vika, 19, were told they could “harm the psyche” of children who saw them kiss each other last week.
Another influencer also faced a potential six year jail sentence in Russia for using Instagram after the app was banned by Putin.
Veronika Loginova, 18, claimed she had been victimised because she “stands out too much”.