Russians sending own children to police for opposing the war in Ukraine

Russians are shopping their own children to police for opposing the war in Ukraine.

Friends are snitching on each other and families tipping off the authorities about relatives who do not back President Vladimir Putin's bloody invasion.

Relationships across Russia are being torn apart by the conflict in scenes echoing those experienced under the one-party totalitarian police state introduced by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union nearly a century ago.

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A mum-of-three from Novosibirsk in Siberia said: "We are living in a Soviet hell with friends reporting friends to police, parents disowning their children. The level of heartache is very hard to describe.''

In Moscow, a dad tipped off cops his daughter was opposing the war online.

Student and blogger Elmira Khalitova was detained by police after her father falsely claimed she had written Instagram posts calling for Russians to be killed.

Her dad, who was drunk, called the police station and insisted officers broke into her apartment to arrest her.

They took her in for questioning and seized her phone but could not open the Instagram app because it is blocked in Russia.

She was released because of a lack of evidence.

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Elmira told Vice World News: "He thought it was his duty to go to the police and file a report. He'd found another enemy of the people and was bringing them to justice.

"It's disgusting that all this is encouraged – that the government encourages people to do this.''

In Siberia, a father told police his son had been discrediting Russian armed forces.

A Moscow husband told officers his Ukrainian wife was against the war.

While a 10-year-old schoolgirl was taken from her classroom in the Russian capital to a police station after the headmaster reported her for using a social media profile picture with the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

Pupils at other schools have reported their teachers for criticising the war.

Some have been forced to resign.

In the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991, citizens commonly reported each other to the authorities for criticising the Communist Party.

Stalin's terror campaign in the 1930s caused folk to denounce friends, neighbours, bosses and their own children.

Millions were sent to labour camps and hundreds of thousands died.

Historian Sergey Radchenko told BBC's Today programme: "This practice goes back to Joseph Stalin but it is also very common in dictatorial regimes to report on your neighbours and sometimes even your friends.''

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