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Russia, Finland understand need for regular dialogue on adoptions

August 20, 2012, 20:47 UTC+3

The Anton Salonen case was one of the first public scandals over Russian-Finnish children

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HELSINKI, August 20 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow and Helsinki understand the need for regular dialogue in order to solve the problems of adopted children and mixed marriages, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his Finnish counterpart on Monday, August 20.

“Any issue related to a child’s life meets a strong reaction in society. We want all children, especially from Russia, to feel comfortable and that his rights and interests to be respected and ensured,” Lavrov said.

This concerns adoptions and children from mixed marriages. Lavrov said Russia is engaged in negotiations on agreements in this field with those countries where this issue is relevant and occupies a great deal of the bilateral agenda.

“We proposed to create a commission with Finland, but its form of secondary importance. What matters most is its content. There is an understanding that we need a regular dialogue between the foreign ministries and justice ministries in order to study each case calmly, giving priority to the rights of the child,” the minister said.

The Anton Salonen case was one of the first public scandals over Russian-Finnish children.

The Salonen case has been in court for several years. The boy’s father, Paavo Salonen, sued his former wife, Rimma Salonen, after she had left for Russia in March 2008, taking their son with her. A year later, she initial legal action in Russia and accused her ex-husband of abducting the boy.

In May 2009, his father secretly whisked his son out of Russia to Finland with the assistance of a Finnish diplomat. After that the Russian Foreign Ministry sent a note to the Finnish Foreign Ministry.

Criminal cases were opened against each of the spouses: against Rimma in Finland and against Paavo in Russia. Their son Anton is currently living with his father. His mother has been allowed to visit the boy twice a month at a children's institution in the city of Pori in the presence of social workers but she cannot speak to him in Russian.

Rimma Salonen told Itar-Tass earlier that Anton was still living with his father, who was appointed by a Finnish court to be his guardian, the boy goes to the reception class at a Finnish school, and is allowed to see his mother twice a month.

“We meet in the city of Pori, in the presence of social workers and speak only Finnish,” she said.

Her former husband Paavo's intention to make peace has so far not gone further than words, but Rimma is determined to continue fighting for her son.

Rimma Salonen said Finnish authorities have withheld the fact that her son had Russian citizenship.

Anton is currently living in Finland with his 70-year old father, who is his sole guardian. In June, a Finnish court rejected Rimma Salonen's request for parental custody of her son. Her lawyer Johan Baeckman said Rimma’s former husband insists that Anton have no contact with his mother even though she had been allowed by court to see him once a week.


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