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03:34

Russia: Moscow student convicted of trying to join IS shares prison experiences *PARTNER CONTENT*

Russian Federation, Moscow
April 30, 2019 at 00:25 GMT +00:00 · Published

A Moscow student who was convicted of trying to join the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) spoke about her time in prison during an interview in Moscow on Monday.

Aleksandra Ivanova, formerly known as Varvara Karaulova, was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison in December 2016 for attempting to join IS but was released from prison on parole on Saturday after nearly two and a half years behind bars.

"I thought a lot in that moment about what was happening, why it was happening, actually very difficult thoughts. They go round and round and round, sometimes it takes you to the point of depression because you cannot get out of the situation. You do not want to think about it, you want to turn away and run but it is still there. And I understand I cannot leave the story behind me, it will always be a part of me," she said.

Ivanova was detained in Turkey while trying to cross into Syria and then deported to Russia in 2015. Aleksandra Ivanova changed her name from Varvara Karaulova while in custody.

"I was worried that I got infected with aggression, offence to the world and it was scary for me," Ivanova explained of her time behind bars.

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A Moscow student who was convicted of trying to join the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) spoke about her time in prison during an interview in Moscow on Monday.

Aleksandra Ivanova, formerly known as Varvara Karaulova, was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison in December 2016 for attempting to join IS but was released from prison on parole on Saturday after nearly two and a half years behind bars.

"I thought a lot in that moment about what was happening, why it was happening, actually very difficult thoughts. They go round and round and round, sometimes it takes you to the point of depression because you cannot get out of the situation. You do not want to think about it, you want to turn away and run but it is still there. And I understand I cannot leave the story behind me, it will always be a part of me," she said.

Ivanova was detained in Turkey while trying to cross into Syria and then deported to Russia in 2015. Aleksandra Ivanova changed her name from Varvara Karaulova while in custody.

"I was worried that I got infected with aggression, offence to the world and it was scary for me," Ivanova explained of her time behind bars.

M/S Interview with student convicted of IS ties Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), Moscow

SOT, Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), student convicted of IS ties (Russian): "Maybe the scariest thing [in jail] was when in front of me a fight broke out because in my life I cannot recall if I have ever seen one, not a boxing game or something."

SOT, Reporter (Russian): "Between prisoners?"

SOT, Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), student convicted of IS ties (Russian): "Yes, it was a real fight and I was lost and I did not know what to do at that moment: pull them apart and keep out. And for me it was scary not as a fact but because how meaningless it was, absolutely unreasonable."

M/S Reporter *CUTAWAY*

SOT, Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), student convicted of IS ties (Russian): "I was worried that I got infected with aggression, offence to the world and it was scary for me."

C/U Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova) *CUTAWAY*

SOT, Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), student convicted of IS ties (Russian): "It was an ambiguous feeling. From the one hand, I want it [her dog] to remember me but, from the other hand, I thought that maybe it would be better if it had forgotten about me. Of course, it is hard to understand what is on a dog's mind. I cannot explain to it that it was not me who left it that the situation was like that. The dog is worried."

M/S reporter *CUTAWAY*

SOT, Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), student convicted of IS ties (Russian): "Our society in a global sense is very patriarchal, a difficult word. Women are very oriented on men up to the situation where a lonely woman can have a wonderful career, she can have children but if she does not have any man she is not fully-fledged. And it is likely that girls and women stick to their husbands and go with them. They stick to them so much that, I know, some of them do not believe or understand an ideology, why go there. But a husband said, so, it is not for a discussion. It is very important to believe in yourself. You, your word is valuable. If he says "we must go" so what? Who cares what he said."

C/U Aleksandra Ivanova's arm *CUTAWAY*

SOT, Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), student convicted of IS ties (Russian): "Why do you need such husband for the sake of having one? It is better to live alone, develop yourself than be with a random guy and in unknown location, put your children at risk and for nothing."

M/S reporter *CUTAWAY*

SOT, Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova), student convicted of IS ties (Russian): "I thought a lot in that moment about what was happening, why it was happening, actually very difficult thoughts. They go round and round and round, sometimes it takes you to the point of depression because you cannot get out of the situation. You do not want to think about it, you want to turn away and run but it is still there. And I understand I cannot leave the story behind me, it will always be a part of me."

M/S Interview with Aleksandra Ivanova (aka Varvara Karaulova)

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