Tonhis sentence The verdict handed down to Alexei Moskalyov on March 28 was outrageous: he served two years in prison for some anti-war comments he made on social media until his daughter Masha (Masha) was only investigated after drawing a pro-Ukrainian drawing in class. But prosecutors said it was the sentence they were asking for and they would not be disappointed in Russia’s judicial system. Astonishingly, the defendant was not actually in the room when the sentence was read. After the verdict was pronounced, the court press officer loudly explained the reason: he escaped from house arrest overnight.
The prosecutions and convictions herald a new kind of Kremlin repression: the separation of families as punishment for antiwar activism. Outside court, Mr Moskalyov’s lawyer, Vladimir Biliyenko, expressed shock. “I’ve never seen a sentence without a defendant,” he said. “I can only say that I want him to be safe. Where is secondary to me.” Mr Moskalev was detained a day later in a safe house in the Belarusian capital Minsk. He is apparently in the process of being smuggled into the West.
The Moskalyovs’ story began less than a year ago when 12-year-old Masha was asked to draw a painting in support of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine. It’s an easy task for most students at her school in Yefremov, a small fossil town five hours south of Moscow. But Martha pulls out a drawing that shows her version of the truth: a young family, missiles flying around, with the words “No War” and “Glory to Ukraine.” Her terrified teacher reported the incident to the principal, who apparently relayed the incident to the police. A day later, both Martha and her father were kicked out of the school by men in uniform. “Other students looked out of the windows as if we were terrorists,” Mr Moskalev later told local media.
The case was filed against Mr Moskalev when prosecutors discovered his own anti-war posts on social media. He was fined 32,000 rubles ($415) for expressing anger over reports of Russian soldiers raping Ukrainian women. He tried to calm it down by taking his daughter out of school and moving to another town. But just before New Year’s Eve, security services searched his home again. Mr. Moskalyov said they confiscated his family savings, worth about $4,750, beat him, banged his head against a wall and played the Russian national anthem loudly. Prosecutors charged him with “repeatedly defaming” the Russian military, which could mean three years in prison and separation from his daughter.
On 1 March, Mr. Moskalyov was arrested on his way home from get off work. On the same day, Masha was taken away and placed in a children’s home. A parallel proceeding to strip Mr Moskalyov of his parental rights, which would amount to a complete separation between parent and child, will have a hearing on April 6.
Mr Bilyenko said the legal process was being used to punish the father and daughter for their anti-war stance. The two were very close, and he said separation would hurt both of them: “They support each other. They are happy in each other’s company. Everything else has nothing to do with them.” publicly, underscores this close connection. “Hi Dad,” the letter read. “I love you so much and want you to know that what you are doing is right…you are my hero.”
When your reporter tried to visit the children’s shelter, a shabby building behind a tall green fence, a security guard shouted him away. Mr Biliyenko said he was concerned for Martha’s health and there were rumors she had attempted suicide.
Mr Moskalyov’s case is the most egregious of its kind, but there have been similar reports elsewhere in Russia. In February, police charged a Moscow family after their daughter posted on social media a picture of the holy javelin, a symbol of the Ukrainian resistance. In Russia’s southern Dagestan region, a schoolgirl has been forced to apologize on camera after saying “Glory to Ukraine, Putin is a jerk” during a final day of school assembly.
In Buryatia, Siberia, a disabled 16-year-old boy was taken in by authorities after the arrest of his adoptive mother, anti-war activist Natalya Filonova. His adoptive father was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. The boy was not allowed to participate in his mother’s court case. A leaked recording of conversations with orphanage staff suggested Ms Filonovaya should have “knowledge…not piss against the wind”.
according to OVD– According to human rights watchdogs, more than 500 minors have been arrested and seven criminally prosecuted since the start of the war. The practice of hitting dissidents where they hurt — their families — will continue as authorities encourage loyalists to inform on their antiwar neighbors. “They will hunt down others, imprison more people, and take more children away from their parents,” Mr. Bilienko said. “Children of enemies of the state. This is what they create for anyone who might consider speaking up.” role model.” ■