1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Freedom of SpeechBelarus

Belarus detains Russian over daughter's Ukraine sketch

March 30, 2023

Alexei Moskalyov had fled house arrest in Russia before a court sentenced him to two years in prison for "discrediting" the Russian army. His daughter had drawn a sketch at school against Russia's war in Ukraine.

Child's drawing of a woman and a child stranding on a green hill under the sun, flanked by two flags, with two  missiles flying at them
Maria Moskalyova had drawn a woman and a child with two missiles flying at them Image: Maria Moskaleva

Belarusian authorities said Thursday that they detained a Russian fugitive who was sentenced to prison in Russia over his daughter's Ukraine-themed school drawing

Alexei Moskalyov, 54, had fled house arrest in Russia before a court handed him a two-year sentence in absentia for "discrediting" the Russian army.

Russian and Belarusian state media said he was being held "upon request of the Russian police."

Last year, Moskalyov's now-13-year-old daughter, Maria, drew a sketch at school of missiles next to a Russian flag flying toward a woman and child standing by a Ukrainian flag. 

Memorial, the outlawed Russian rights group that won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, has declared Moskalyov a political prisoner. 

What happened to Maria? 

The girl's school had contacted the police. Maria was questioned and Moskalyov was fined
for earlier critical comments on social media, according to his lawyer and supporters. 

Alexei Moskalyov, right, is escorted from a courtroom
Moskalyov had appeard in court in Russia before fleeing house arrestImage: AP Photo

The pair were separated as the daughter was taken to a local "rehabilitation center" for minors.

A lawyer representing the single father has said it was "difficult to predict" what would happen to his daughter.

A Russian court is expected to consider the authorities' petition to restrict Moskalyov's parental rights next week. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has defended Moskalyov's sentencing and described his parenting as "deplorable."

fb/sri (AFP, AP)  

Rights campaigners win Nobel Peace Prize