The Kremlin children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, announced on Wednesday that a Russian girl who had been sent to an orphanage after drawing an antiwar sketch at school had been taken from the facility by her mother.
The case had sparked international outrage as the girl’s father, Alexei Moskalyov, was convicted of discrediting the Russian military and handed a two-year prison term, while his daughter was dispatched to the orphanage.
According to Lvova-Belova, the girl’s mother, who had long been separated from her husband and child, had met with her daughter and convinced her to come back home. This came after the girl had previously refused to live with her mother.
Moskalyov had been charged over social media posts criticizing the war in Ukraine, which were made under a law adopted days after Russian troops invaded in February 2022.
He had rejected the accusations. His troubles began after his daughter drew a picture at Yefremov School No. 9, depicting missiles flying over a Russian flag at a woman and child, along with the words “No to war” and “Glory to Ukraine.”
The case has highlighted the extent of the Kremlin’s crackdown on dissent, with anyone who dared to criticize the war being relentlessly targeted. Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest and most prominent rights groups, declared Moskalyov a political prisoner and he fled house arrest just before his sentencing hearing last week in the town of Yefremov south of Moscow. He was detained in Belarus two days later.
Moskalyov’s current whereabouts remain unknown, and a court in Yefremov is set to consider a request by prosecutors to strip him of his parental rights.
In a related development, the International Criminal Court is seeking to arrest Lvova-Belova along with Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes allegedly committed by deporting children from Ukraine. However, she spoke to a U.N. meeting on Wednesday to argue that the children were moved for their safety and that Moscow was working with international organizations to return them to their families.