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The daughter of a pro-Putin senator in Russia has fled the country in fear of persecution and jail after he branded her a “traitor” for opposing the war in Ukraine.
Diana Isakova, 25, posted flyers criticising the conflict and took part in an anti-war demonstration in Sochi which led to her arrest and interrogation by the feared FSB secret service.
Her father Eduard Isakov, 48, reacted with fury having previously warned her not to criticise Putin or the authorities on social media. He said: "It’s difficult to find words for when your daughter turns out to be a traitor."
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She has now taken sanctuary in Georgia as her father – who was a professional powerlifter before becoming a politician in the Federation Council, Russia's upper house – continues to attack her for opposing Putin and his bloody war in Ukraine.
She was pictured arriving at Tbilisi airport in August.
Speaking to media outlet Medusa, Diana: “I'm afraid of persecution, I'm afraid to be jailed.
“I wouldn't say that I'm just terribly afraid of prison or something, but I think I can do more good not in prison.”
The yoga teacher said that when the war started, she saw the anguish of Ukrainians who she followed on Instagram, saying: "These girls’ stories were full of bombs and sobbing. I felt their suffering as if it were my own".
Now she claims Putin embodies “cruelty, arrogance, and impunity” and believes the Russian leader – and her senator father who backs him to the hilt – should face justice for the war.
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Diana claims Russia’s political illiberalism is a consequence of authoritarianism in the family with the country’s despots being products of childhood humiliation.
Speaking of the Russian president, she said: “Inside of every cruel person, there’s an unhappy child who’s afraid to admit his weakness, his vulnerability, and his needs. At some point in his childhood someone was cruel to him and it was painful.
"Naturally, Putin should be held accountable, but that doesn’t mean we just shoot him. By seeking revenge, we’re effectively going down the same hateful path.”
She warned of “fanatical patriotism” in Russia and “weak-willed submission” of people to the authorities.
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In a rant on Telegram, father-of-four Mr Isakov said: “She’s taking a stand against the execution of the special military operation, against her own country’s policy.
“Evidently, she received money from certain media outlets. In other words, she sold out her father, her family, her Motherland, and left Russia.
"She did not just oppose a special military operation, she secretly engaged in opposition activities behind my back, living in my house, at my expense, realising that I work for federal authorities.
"She admitted that she went to opposition rallies, single pickets, protesting the activities of the government” and “organised her own action calling for the overthrow of the government [and] printed illegal leaflets in my house
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"When she was detained, she was frightened and said that as a senator's daughter they had no right to touch her…," he continued.
“She is not 15 years old, she has not been a teenager for a long time, she is 25 years old, this is an adult who, confessing her love to me, opposed me.
"She complained how I tyrannised my daughter, did not allow her to freely express her position, but for some reason she lived with me voluntarily and did not even think about moving out and starting an independent life.
“At the same time, she had somewhere to move – she had been dating an adult man of my age for three years.”
Her dad accused her of frittering away her money then begging him for financial support while failing to get a proper profession, and dropping out of higher education.
He claims she should return to Russia and be sent to the Donbas as a volunteer in order to “learn firsthand the reasons for the special military operation”.
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