Exiled Russian Nigella Lawson, 52, has her £1m homes seized for daring to criticise Putin’s war in Ukraine – and could face 10 YEARS in jail if she returns to her homeland
- ‘Chef Belonika’ faces a decade behind bars if she returns to her home country
- The bestselling cookbook author has made stinging criticisms of Putin’s war
- Now her properties, worth £1m, have been seized by a Moscow court in revenge
- Influencer Veronika was first Russian charged under censorship law in March
An exiled Russian celebrity author who has been referred to as her nation’s Nigella Lawson has had her homes seized for her opposition to the war in Ukraine.
Bestselling author and influencer Belotserkovskaya, 52, has been one of Russia’s loudest critics of the war in Ukraine
Veronika Belotserkovskaya, 52, also faces jail under draconian censorship laws banning criticism of the country’s armed forces.
‘Chef Belonika’ has fled to France.
A Russian court took the assets, homes in Moscow and St Petersburg worth around £1million, in her absence.
The celebrity is on Russia’s international wanted list for social media posts containing ‘deliberately false information about the use of the armed forces of the Russian Federation to destroy cities and the civilian population of Ukraine, including children’.
Her posts were based on ‘political hatred or enmity’, the Kremlin alleged.
The seizure of her assets in a decision by Basmanny court in Moscow relates to the posts.
She was earlier arrested in absentia – and could face up to ten years in jail if extradited to Russia.
‘Chef Belonika’ previously accused Putin of hiding away in his ‘warm bunker, close to hell’
Belonika had accused Vladimir Putin of turning ‘boys aged 18-to-20 … into the mincemeat of [his] imperial ambitions’.
Born in Odesa, Ukraine, but a self-described ‘proud Russian’, Belotserkovskaya has posted a series of fiery anti-war statements in a country where the word ‘war’ itself is banned.
In Russia, the invasion of Ukraine must be described as a ‘special military operation’.
Now living in France, she was the first Russian to be hauled through the courts for criticising Putin over Ukraine.
Among her posts to her 955,000 followers she accused Putin of waging ‘an aggressive WAR against a sovereign state’.
She said: ‘I do not consider the Ukrainian People my enemy. I consider them brothers and sisters.’
And she wrote: ‘I am absolutely horrified by how many mothers from both sides will not wait for their boys to come home.’
Belotserkovskaya poses with a horse for an Instagram post. She has become a fiery Putin critic
In passionate attacks, she also posted: ‘I am totally shocked by the economic consequences that we will all have to deal with for many, many years to come.
‘I’m afraid for my children.
‘I want them to live in a world without this monstrous hatred, which every day, this unnecessary f***ing war breeds. Which NO ONE wanted!
‘Because only insane nonhumans can want war.
‘Hatred not only of Ukrainians, but of the whole world. We all turn into outcasts.
‘I’m not ashamed to be RUSSIAN. I am ashamed now, as a person of the world who cannot change and fix anything. Ashamed of my helplessness.’
Odessa-born Belonika says she is a ‘proud Russian’ (pictured, an airstrike on nearby Mykolaiv)
‘Most of all, to be honest, I am afraid of the RED BUTTON,’ she posted.
‘The ‘special operation’, which for all of us, for all mankind, can become the final one.
‘Even in my Soviet pioneer childhood, at the height of the Cold War, I was not so afraid.’
Putin’s war had caused her to ‘sob and sob and sob’.
She wrote: ‘My dear Ukrainian brothers and sisters, I embrace you with all my heart.
‘Strength and courage to you.’
She admitted that ‘most likely never be able to go home [to Russia] again.
‘For the first time in my life, I have encountered absolute and unadulterated evil.
‘This FEAR overlaps all my previous scares.’
She described Putin, 69, as a ‘tired of life man, bored with the absolute power that saw his obedient people carried in his beak for 22 years’.
She said: ‘I tried to understand what was in his head.
‘With a very simple goal – can he really press the ‘turn off humanity’ button?
‘I have watched a lot of interviews with him. The most recent ones are creepy.’
He ‘is not afraid of anything. He feels good and warm in his bunker, so close to hell.
‘And he, indeed, with his hatred of freedom and obsession with imperial ideas, believes that Ukraine is not a state, but just a rough stretch of road on the way to eternity.
‘And it can be erased with one of his imperial breaths.
‘He, however, does not understand that it is impossible to destroy Ukraine.
‘THE WHOLE WORLD NOW BECAME UKRAINE.’
Sarcastically, she said the property seizure in Russia was a 52nd birthday present from the Putin authorities for her today (25 June).
‘Thank you not very dear state,’ she posted before again voicing her support for Ukrainians.