Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Police Detain 9-Year-Old Girl Over ‘Terrorist’ Text Messages

Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Tyva

Police in the Siberian republic of Tyva detained a nine-year-old girl on suspicion of urging strangers to commit acts of terrorism via text message.

A video published by the local branch of Russia’s Interior Ministry was said to have shown the girl providing testimony to a police officer, though there was no audio accompanying the video, so it was unclear what exactly was being discussed.

Screenshots of the text messages the girl reportedly sent showed her asking an unidentified receiver: “Can you kill people for 500,000 rubles [$5,400]?”

The sum appears to be a reference to one of the suspected gunmen behind last week’s deadly concert attack near Moscow, as he claimed in a video of having been paid half a million rubles for killing scores of people.

According to the text messages shared by police in Tyva, the recipient of the girl’s text message declined her request, in response to which she wrote: “Goodbye! We need terrorists. Not defenders.”

The girl, whose identity was not revealed by the authorities, later apologized to the recipient in the text message exchange and asked them not to alert Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Police officers and FSB agents detained the girl along with her parents in the town of Chadan, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

“The schoolgirl admitted that she decided out of boredom to send a message to an unknown contact saved on her older sister’s phone,” the law enforcement body said.

Her mother was charged with the misdemeanor offense of “failing to fulfill obligations regarding the care and upbringing of a minor.”

Police said they were considering whether to press additional charges, warning that calls to commit terrorist acts online are punishable by up to seven years in prison, while failing to report crimes to the authorities is also a criminal offense.

… we have a small favor to ask.

As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just 2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.


Read more