American teacher jailed in Russia coming home, friend says


(NewsNation) — Friends and family of an American teacher imprisoned in Russia for nearly a year are anticipating her release in the coming weeks.

Sarah Krivanek, a 46-year-old schoolteacher, was arrested Nov. 11, 2021, after a domestic dispute with her Russian partner, Mikhail Karavaev.

Krivanek sought advice from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and was told she should leave Russia as soon as possible, according to statements obtained by People magazine.

However, the advice backfired when she was stopped at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport for an expired Russian visa. Her friends and family haven’t directly heard from her since.

Krivanek’s friend Anita Martinez has been fighting for her well-being and said Friday on “Banfield” the schoolteacher is scheduled to be released Nov. 7.

“She’s coming home,” Martinez said.

Krivanek is being released after serving her full sentence, Martinez said, and there was some uncertainty as to how she would get back to the United States. Initially the family was under the impression she would be transferred to some sort of holding facility until arrangements were made to bring her home.

“Apparently she got called in by the prison administration and was told that her flight had been bought and paid for,” Martinez said.

The friends have stayed in contact via letters sent through human rights organizations. Krivanek has given a few details about horrid living conditions and incidents of psychological bullying, though the full extent of what she’s gone through is unknown.

In one of the letters, Krivanek said “the road has been very hard” since she landed in legal trouble nearly a year ago. She also said her health has gotten worse and she has no medical care.

“Sarah couldn’t tell me everything in her letters … because they monitor (communications),” Martinez said.

When Martinez found out that Krivanek was getting out, she was overcome with joy. Now continues the anxiety until Krivanek is wheels down in Washington, D.C.

“Until she’s on that plane and on her way,” Martinez said, “I’m not going to stop holding my breath.”

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