While Brittney Griner’s Russian incarceration dominates headlines, another American woman is sitting behind bars in the same jail waiting for the world to take the same – or at least some – interest in her case.
Sarah Krivanek, also known as Sarah Rae Burns and Sarah Duncan, is a 46-year-old teacher and mother from Colorado who has been behind bars in Moscow since last year, when she was arrested for assaulting her abusive, drunk Russian boyfriend Mikhail Karavaev.
He had beaten her up in a drunken rage and she retaliated by cutting him in the nose. Russian media states that she tried to slice it off, but she insists it was nothing more than a scratch.
The boyfriend has tried to retract his police claim but Sarah remains incarcerated. Her friends are now pleading for the White House to take notice in her case, which remains unresolved.
Griner was yesterday sentenced to nine years behind bars for smuggling a cannabis pen into the country. She was detained at Moscow airport shortly after arriving on a flight from the US. The 31-year-old WNBA star knows Russia well, having played multiple off-seasons there.
Sarah Krivanek, also known as Sarah Rae Burns and Sarah Duncan, is a 46-year-old teacher and mother from Colorado who has been behind bars in Moscow since last year
Sarah’s arrest came as the result of a bust-up with her alcoholic boyfriend Mikhail Karavev (shown)
Sarah, 46, had been living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but is a California native. She moved to Russia in 2017 after divorcing her military husband and she began teaching English to Russian children.
She and her boyfriend Mikhail Karavaev had a troubled and abusive relationship. Friends of hers told NewsNation’s Banfield that she told them how he would regularly beat her up.
Krivanek was somewhat of an open book on social media, posting medical reports which detailed the injuries he allegedly gave her, and talking often about domestic violence.
In November, the pair’s violent relationship took its worst turn. A day after he broke her fingers, she took a knife to his nose, scratching it but not doing permanent damage.
He called the police and she was arrested then released on bail, ordered to return to court at a later date.
Krivanek’s friends say she sought advice from the US Embassy in Moscow and was instructed to leave as soon as possible.
On November 11, 2021, Sarah sliced her boyfriend’s nose with a knife. The previous day, he beat her so badly that she was left with black eyes and broken fingers. He went to the police and drunkenly signed papers to charge her, then retracted it, admitting he was in the wrong
Krivanek was in an abusive relationship with Mikhail Karavaev. He beat her regularly, according to her friends and photos that she shared of her injuries
She was given a $200 loan from the government and was escorted to the airport by a diplomat, but she was arrested before she could get on the plane.
Krivanek’s wrist injury from another beating
The woman has been in custody ever since, with little information about her case emerging.
It wasn’t until Griner was arrested and taken to the same jail, and until a human rights activist went to visit Griner and came across Sarah, who was begging for help.
‘She hugged me and burst into tears. She said, “How have I ended up in here?
‘It’s all untrue.
‘I’m a good person,”” Ekaterina Kalugina, the activist, told People earlier this week.
The State Department would not comment on the specific details of her case, but a spokesman told DailyMail.com they were aware of it.
‘We can confirm the arrest of a U.S. citizen in Moscow in December 2021. We take our role in assisting U.S. citizens abroad seriously and are monitoring the situation.
Sarah is shown trying to leave Russia in December last year after consulting the embassy
The woman is shown being taken into custody in December
‘We continue to urge that Russian authorities allow consistent, timely consular access to all U.S. citizen detainees in Russia in line with its legal obligations and allow us to provide consular services for U.S. citizens detained in Russia.
‘Our requests for access are consistently delayed or denied.’
They declined to give a figure for the number of US citizens currently incarcerated in Russia, saying: ‘We are unable to provide a number for detained individuals, as the number of U.S. citizens detained in any country is fluid, and we do not want to provide a number that is outdated or inaccurate.’
Sarah’s friends are now asking for her to be shown the same level of interest as Griner.
President Biden immediately rushed to condemn Griner’s sentence yesterday, claiming she was ‘wrongfully detained’ and that he would do anything he could to get her out.
Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison yesterday. The Biden administration has rushed to offer her assistance and says it will do ‘anything’ to get her out
Griner and Sarah are both being held in Correctional Colony No. 1 in Dmitrov, near Moscow
Sarah’s friends say they want her home. She had been planning to return to the US after four years in Russia when she was arrested
That is likely to come down to a prisoner swap of Griner for notorious Merchant of Death arms Viktor Bout, who has been in prison in the US since 2010.
Yesterday, after Griner was sentenced, DailyMail.com reported exclusively that Russia was in talks with the US to swap the pair after holding off for weeks.
The process is now likely to be completed within a few weeks, unless there are any delays to the appeals process that Griner’s team has ten days to complete.
Many have criticized the deal, saying Bout’s crimes far surpass Griner’s and that letting him go free just to save her makes Biden look weak.
Among critics is Donald Trump, who last week said: ‘It is not a good trade.’
The swap is likely to enrage Sarah’s friends, who have no idea when they may hear from her again.