Russia Stands Firm Against War Opponents, Arrests Even for Antiwar Drawings

A single father, who was arrested last week and then put under house arrest in Russia because his 12-year-old daughter Masha drew an antiwar picture in school, has not yet been reunited with his daughter, Russian media reported Monday.

Aleksey Moskalev OVD-InfoAleksey Moskalev is under a house arrest because his daughter Masha drew an antiwar school work. Masha was placed in a youth rehabilitation center. (Photo: Aleksey Moskalev/Social Networks, OVD-Info, License) Masha was placed in an orphanage and expected to be reunited with her father on Friday, according to human rights watchdog OVD-Info.

Masha Moskaleva was a sixth grade student in the town of Yefremov, in the Tula region, some 200 kilometers south from Moscow, when in April last year she drew a Ukrainian flag and a Russian flag with the slogans “No to war” and “Glory to Ukraine.” This was accompanied by a drawing of a woman protecting her infant from missiles coming from Russia.

Her teacher informed the school director, who then informed the authorities about Masha’s schoolwork.

Officers of the Federal Security Service (FSB) took Masha and her father Aleksey in for an interview and reportedly searched their home.

A local court found Aleksey Moskalev guilty of “discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” and ordered him to pay a 32,000 Russian rubles (US$423.61) fine.

Aleksey and Masha moved to a nearby city but authorities in Yefremov opened a criminal case against Moskalev in December, saying that in July last year he repeatedly discredited the Russian Army in his posts on the Russian social network (Odnoklassniki/Одноклассники).

Moskalev was last week arrested on those charges and taken to the Yefremov Investigative Committee headquarters, while his daughter Masha was taken to a child protection facility – the rehabilitation center “Youth,” according to OVD-Info.

The human rights watchdog cited Aleksey Moskalev’s lawyer as saying that his client was ordered to stay under house arrest until April 27, 2023.

OVD-Info, which has been on the Russian government’s list of “unregistered public associations acting as a foreign agent” since September 2021, counts detentions and court proceedings against those who dare to think differently from the regime in Moscow.

Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February last year, OVD-Info has recorded nearly 20,000 detentions of people opposing the war in Ukraine and mobilization in Russia, as well as hundreds of court proceedings for alleged "political crimes," with over 50 scheduled for the coming week alone.