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Business News/ News / World/  Russia sends teenager to rehab over anti-war drawing, jails father for 2 years
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Russia sends teenager to rehab over anti-war drawing, jails father for 2 years

In Russia, using the word ‘war’ instead of ‘special military operation’ could land people in legal trouble.

Because Masha made this 'No to War' drawing.Premium
Because Masha made this 'No to War' drawing.

A Russian single father has been jailed for discrediting the Russian army. The case began with a drawing by his daughter, Maria, and has raised concerns over the Kremlin’s crackdown on free speech.

Alexei Moskalyov was sentenced to two years in prison after making social media posts critical of the war in Ukraine. Maria’s anti-war drawing, which was drawn in her school, first drew the authorities’ attention to the family. Moskalyov’s lawyer, Vladimir Biliyenko, has confirmed that they plan to appeal his sentence.

Alexei, however, has fled detention and is now on the run. This is a significant development in the case.

Moskalyov was officially charged on March 2 and detained, and his daughter was taken to a social rehabilitation centre for minors. The school officials had raised concerns about Maria’s drawing, which showed missiles flying over a mother and child, as well as Russian and Ukrainian flags with the words “No to war" and “Glory to Ukraine".

Also Read: Russian forces gain ground in key Ukrainian city

Moskalyov was investigated for discrediting the Russian army, and his social media activity around the war in Ukraine last year was used against him. Biliyenko said that his client had not pleaded guilty.

The case has already drawn media attention and criticism from rights groups. The law used in the case, which was introduced just days into the invasion, criminalises any criticism of the Russian army. This has forced Russia’s last remaining independent media to shut down and caused regular Russians to think twice before speaking out.

Even using the word “war" instead of the Kremlin-sanctioned “special military operation" could land people in legal trouble, NBC News reported. Memorial, a prominent rights group, said it considers Moskalyov “a political prisoner". Moskalyov's daughter wrote him a letter calling him her "hero." His lawyer plans to appeal the sentence.

Also Read: Russia, Ukraine prepare for escalating onslaught, US intelligence says

The case of Alexei Moskalyov has raised concerns over the Kremlin’s crackdown on free speech, particularly the use of draconian laws introduced just days into the invasion that criminalise any criticism of the Russian army.

This has caused Russia’s last remaining independent media to shut down and led regular Russians to think twice before speaking out. The case has already drawn media attention and criticism from rights groups, and even some Russian hard-liners are expressing misgivings about the severity of the case.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sounak Mukhopadhyay
Sounak Mukhopadhyay, who also goes by the name Sounak Mukherjee, has been producing digital news since 2012. He's worked for the International Business Times, The Inquisitr, and Moneycontrol in the past. He's also contributed to Free Press Journal and TheRichest with feature articles. He covers news for a wide range of subjects including business, finance, economy, politics and sports. Before working with digital news publications, he worked as a freelance content writer.
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Published: 30 Mar 2023, 01:03 PM IST
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