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    Vodianova Incident Raises Awareness About Child Disability in Russia

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    An ugly incident took place in a Nizhny Novgorod café when Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova's disabled sister was told "to leave" because she was "scaring" the café's clients, sparking outrage among Russian lawmakers and the Nizhny Novgorod public.

    Oksana, an autistic sister of famous Russian model Natalia Vodianova was ordered to leave by the owner of a café in Nizhny Novgorod under the pretext the 27-year old disabled girl was "scaring the clients"; needless to say, the incident prompted immediate outrage among Russian officials and the general public.

    According to Natalia Vodianova's Facebook post, her sister Oksana, who suffers from autism and cerebral palsy, was walking with her carer in the Avtozavodskiy park in Vodianova's home city Nizhny Novgorod.

    The weather was hot and the disabled girl soon got thirsty. Oksana's carer decided to make a stop at the park's Flamingo café and ordered tea and chocolate for the girl. Embarrassingly, the poor girl and her nanny were treated as unwelcomed guests.

    The café owner came up to them accompanied by a security guard and rudely demanded that they should leave. "Get out of here, you are frightening our customers," he told Oksana and her carer, threatening to call a "psychiatric unit." The café's sole customer who was at the scene asked the owner to leave the disabled girl alone, however, Flamingo's owner turned a deaf ear to the man's plea.

    To cap the situation, when the girl's mother arrived to help, she lambasted Flamingo's owner for the vile abuse, to which the owner responded by calling the police accusing the women of "hooliganism."

    The shameful incident rightly prompted a wave of outrage among everyday Russians. Russia's Investigative Committee has launched a case charging the café owner with violation of human dignity with the threat of physical menace. In accordance with Russia's Criminal Code the café owner may face a five-year prison term.

    Deputy Governor of Nizhegorodskiy Region Dmitri Svatkovskiy, politician, pentathlete and Olympic champion, said the city's government was shocked by the incident. Svatkovskiy said that a week ago the region's authorities conducted a tour for children with mental disorders to the upcoming World Cup 2018 site in Nizhny Novgorod. He said he was touched by warmth and compassion displayed toward the disabled children.

    Дорогие,Ситуация, которая вчера произошла с моей родной сестрой Оксаной, не единичный случай, к сожалению, это та реал…

    Posted by Наталья Водянова on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    The deputy governor bemoaned the fact that there are still some people who behave just like the notorious Flamingo café owner, stressing that the disgusting incident will not remain unpunished.

    There are about 9,000 disabled children in Nizhegorodskiy Region, most of them live in families.

    In a statement published on Russia's Investigative Committee official website the committee spokesman Vladimir Markin slammed the Flamingo owner and the café security for selfishness, greed and inhumanity. According to Markin, a rush for profits makes people blind to the suffering of others. He stressed that all responsible for the crime will be punished, adding that this case is sending a clear signal that no one is above the law.


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    investigation, social care, autism, disabled, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Russian Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, Natalia Vodianova, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
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