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Russian Man Arrested for Daughter’s Anti-War Drawing

Alexei Moskalev and his daughter Maria.

Updates with court ruling of house arrest.

The authorities in Russia's Tula region have placed a single father under house arrest until March 27 after his daughter drew an anti-war picture at school, the independent rights watchdog OVD-Info reported Thursday.

Alexei Moskalev, 53, and his daughter Masha Moskaleva, 12, came to the attention of local law enforcement back in April in the town of Yefremov, south of Moscow, when Moskaleva drew an anti-war painting in her sixth-grade art class. 

The painting featured a Ukrainian flag and a Russian flag with the phrases “No to war” and “Glory to Ukraine” written on it, as well as a woman shielding her child from Russian missiles. 

Moskaleva’s art teacher flagged her painting to the school principal, who reported the incident to the authorities. 

Days later, Moskalev was charged with “discrediting” the Russian military for an anti-war comment he left on the Russian social media platform Odnoklassniki, OVD-Info reported.

His daughter was visited at school by Federal Security Service (FSB) officers, according to OVD-Info. 

In December, the authorities opened a criminal case against Moskalev, accusing him of repeated violations of wartime censorship laws that criminalize “discrediting” the Russian military — charges that are now punishable by up to three years in jail.

Moskalev and his daughter left Yefremov after their house was searched and Moskalev was violently interrogated by security forces. 

Following his arrest Wednesday, Moskalev was taken to the Yefremov Investigative Committee headquarters, OVD-Info reported, citing a local volunteer. 

His daughter, who was left home alone after her father’s arrest, was taken to a foster care facility in Yefremov overnight, though as Moskalev was placed under house arrest, child protection services are due to return Moskalev’s daughter to her father on Friday, according to OVD-Info.

Russian lawmakers banned statements that "discredit" the military or spread "false information" about the armed forces shortly after the country invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

The laws have subsequently been used to silence protest and to punish anti-war sentiment across the country, with hundreds of people already being prosecuted. 

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