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Russian diplomats report certain results at talks on Zavgorodnyaya affair

October 03, 2012, 19:18 UTC+3

“The Russian Embassy is working on the matter thoroughly and comprehensively,” the spokesperson for the Russian Embassy said

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HELSINKI, October 3 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian diplomats met with Finnish social service officials on Wednesday, October 3, to discuss ways to settle the crisis caused by the taking away of four children from Russian woman Anastasia Zavgorodnyaya who is living in Finland.

“We cannot disclose the content yet, but there are certain results that allow us to find a way out of this situation reach a solution that will satisfy all sides,” the spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in Finland, Dmitry Suvorov, told Itar-Tass.

“The Russian Embassy is working on the matter thoroughly and comprehensively and maintain constant contact with the woman,” Suvorov said ealrier.

At the same time, Anna Cantell-Forsbom, head of the Vantaa Family Service, which had ordered Zavgorodnyaya’s children to be taken away, told Finnish mass media that the social services had acted in accordance with law.

She stressed that such decisions were made every time when there were suspicions that a child’s wellbeing was in danger.

Cantell-Forsbom said this concerned all children irrespective of their citizenship, and it makes no difference whether a mother has dual citizenship or not.

Russian children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said he would prepare an appeal to the Foreign Ministry, asking it to interfere in the incident with Zavgorodnyaya and her children in Finland.

The local social service took four children away from Zavgorodnyaya, who is living in the Finnish town of Vantaa. “At first, the elder girl (6 years old) and the twins (2-year old) were taken away following her teacher’s report. Yesterday, the newborn daughter (10 days old) was taken away. Their mother has not been allowed to communicate with the child or breastfeed her,” Astakhov’s press service said.

According to information obatined by Astakhov, the children were put in an orphanage and then immediately transferred to a foster family, following “the elder girl’s complaint that her dad had slapped her”.

“The situation is not easy. We keep in touch with Anastasia. The elder daughter has Russian citizenship. The Finnish system of child protection offers no alternative in family crises. The taking away of children is a dangerous juvenile conveyor. It is extremely dangerous for Russian families with children to remain hostage of Finnish social services,” Astakhov said.

This is not the first incident involving the seizure of children from mix Finnish- Russian families. “The tragedies of the Salonens, Rantalas and Zavgorodnayas are multiplying in Finland due to very aggressive and uncivilized actions of Finnish social services. This can hardly be called a civilised treatment. Russia always offers cooperation and mutual assistance to the Finnish authorities in protecting children’s rights. In reply we always get a rejection of agreements and negotiations. We must find a way to convince the Finnish authorities of the need to conduct a dialogue with Russia on the protection of children and sign a bilateral agreement. If Finland refused to begin negotiations, it should be designated as a country dangerous for foreign /Russian/ families with children,” Astakhov said.

He intends to prepare a special report on the position of Russian children in Finland and submit it to the president.

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 in late August.

“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.

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