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She was an OG even before that. It is actually surprising it took Russia until 2014 to ban her. Chrystia Freeland is a legend people should know about during these times.
During 1988–89, she was an exchange student at the University of Kyiv in Ukraine, where she studied Ukrainian, although she was already fluent in the language.
While there, she worked with journalist Bill Keller of The New York Times to document the Bykivnia graves, an unmarked mass grave site where the NKVD (the Soviet secret police) disposed of tens of thousands of dissidents. The official Soviet story held that the graves were the result of Nazi atrocities. She translated the stories of locals who had witnessed covered trucks and "puddles of blood in the road" that predated the Nazi invasion, adding evidence that the site was actually the result of Stalinist repression.
While there she attracted the attention of the KGB, which tagged her with the code name "Frida", and Soviet newspapers, who attacked her as a foreigner meddling in their internal affairs over her contacts with Ukrainian activists.
The KGB surveilled Freeland and tapped her phone calls, and documented the young Canadian activist delivering money, video and audio recording equipment, and a personal computer to contacts in Ukraine. She used a diplomat at the Canadian embassy in Moscow to send material abroad in a secret diplomatic pouch, worked with foreign journalists on stories about life in the Soviet Union, and organised marches and rallies to attract attention and support from western countries. On her return from a trip to London in March 1989, Freeland was denied re-entry to the USSR.
By the time her activism within Ukraine came to an end, Freeland had become the subject of a high-level case study from the KGB on how much damage a single determined individual could inflict on the Soviet Union; a 2021 Globe and Mail article quoted the report by a former officer of the KGB, which had described Freeland as "a remarkable individual", "erudite, sociable, persistent, and inventive in achieving her goals".
If this woman doesn't become the Prime Minister of Canada next we're gonna have a long talk over Russian Vodka.
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