12-year-old Russian girl released after interrogation over anti-war drawing

© Observers

The father of a 12-year old girl who drew an antiwar picture in a school in Russia is now under home arrest and is facing criminal charges, while his daughter has been released from state care, where she was interrogated about her opinions on Russian politics. They are among a growing number of children and parents who have been prosecuted for not supporting Russia’s “special military operation”.

Alexei Moskalyov was detained on Wednesday 1 March, in Yefremov, a town in the Tula region, about 240 km outside Moscow, while his daughter, Masha, was sent into an orphanage, according to OVD-Info, a human rights organisation that has been following their case. The father and daughter have been repeatedly detained, interrogated and - in Alexei’s case - beaten, since April 2022, when Masha drew an anti-war drawing at school. The drawing showed rockets being fired at a Ukrainian family. The school contacted the police to tell them about the drawing, which drew attention to anti-war statements that her father, Alexei, had posted on social media.

On one occasion in December, Masha was interrogated for several hours alone, without her father or a lawyer present, according to OVD-Info. A month later, the father was brutally beaten and interrogated, while Masha was taken into state care for a day. They moved cities for their safety, but the police eventually found them on Wednesday 1 March.

Shortly before she was detained that same day, Masha told OVD-Info: “The police came and took my dad. [They told me] that they would call child protection services soon”.

“The Moskalyov case is part of a much larger and terrifying trend”

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