A Russian father is on the run after his daughter’s drawing landed him in prison for criticizing Vladimir Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Masha Moskalyova, 13, wrote a picture at school showing Russian missiles hurtling towards a Ukrainian woman and a child.
The drawing also showed a Ukrainian flag with the inscription “Glory to Ukraine” and a Russian tricolor with the slogan “No to war”.
Her single father Alexei Moskalyov, 54, was placed under house arrest earlier this month while Masha was taken to a grim rehabilitation center that’s part of the state’s orphanage system.
He was sentenced Tuesday to two years in a harsh penal colony for “discrediting the armed forces” – but has not been seen since Monday.
Moskalyov was not in court and court officials said he fled fearing jail time.
He will likely also have his parental rights revoked – which would mean he would never see Masha again as she could be permanently sent to an orphanage or placed in foster care.
The repressive action against the student began when she painted an anti-war picture at school last April.
The students had been instructed by a teacher to create works of art in support of the Russian troops.
She was reported to the police by a teacher and questioned by the FSB, Putin’s feared counterintelligence agency.
Her father was questioned and found he had posted his support for Ukraine and cartoons of Vladimir Putin on social media, for which he was fined £350.
Legal action against him culminated in Tuesday’s conviction.
It is the first time since Soviet times that a child has been separated from a parent because of political views.
Moskalyov’s lawyer Vladimir Biliyenko added that the defense will appeal the verdict and Masha will remain in the children’s home for the time being.
The conviction has sparked an outcry among Russian human rights activists and sparked an online campaign for the father and daughter to be reunited.
Even Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group, Russia’s most powerful mercenary group involved in some of Ukraine’s fiercest fighting, called the verdict “unfair” and called for a review.
In a letter to the prosecutor’s office, Prigozhin wrote: “Especially given that his daughter Masha will be forced to grow up in an orphanage.”
Police began investigating Moskalyov’s social media activities and he was initially fined 35,000 rubles (£370) for comments critical of the Russian army.
In December, investigators opened another case against him on suspicion of discrediting the armed forces, this time based on a social media post in June.
The banned Russian human rights organization Memorial said it considers Moskalyov a political prisoner.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7742638/dad-sentenced-russian-daughter-drawing-war/ Father on the run after being sentenced to Putin’s Gulag for 13-year-old Russian daughter and painting ‘No to War’ picture at school