27 April 2013, 18:35

Norwegian authorities remove children from Russian mother – Astakhov

Павел Астахов
Pavel Astakhov
Pavel Astakhov

Social services in Torvikbukt in southwestern Norway have removed all three daughters, all of them Russian nationals, from their Russian mother Tatyana Bendikene, who is the divorced wife of a Lithuanian national.

According to the latest tweet by the Kremlin’s children’s rights Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov, officials acted on requests received from two of the girls’ schoolmates and the school’s principal.

Astakhov also said the Embassies of Russia and Lithuania are raising the matter with the Norwegian Equality and Social Integration Ministry and are prepared to extend aid to Tatyana Bendikene in launching a legal challenge against the removal of her daughters.

The family moved to Norway from the Russian region of Kaliningrad four years ago. The eldest girl was born in Russia, the two younger ones, in Norway.

'Our children should live in Russia' – Pavel Astakhov

The Russian Consulate-General together with Pavel Astakhov, Children’s Rights Commissioner for the Russian president have managed to return to Russia two Russian children who were in Spanish orphanages. Commenting on the situation Pavel Astakhov has this to say.

The two children are 6-year-old Karina and 1.5-year-old Angele who were taken away from their mother, a Russian citizen, by local social services.

This was the first time that Spain returned Russian children home, Pavel Astakhov said in an interview with the Voice of Russia.

“The parents of these children are Russian citizens who lived in Spanish Catalonia. The local child welfare department drew attention to these children because the parents failed to fulfill their obligations. They raised claims against them several times and then the local authorities decided to take away the children from their parents. The mother was deprived of her parental rights, after this, the children should have been given up for adoption,” Pavel Astakhov said.

The children’s relatives, who believed that it would be better for the children to live with them rather than in foreign foster families, were the first to ring alarm bells. Moreover, Karina has an uncle in Russia, while Angele has a grandmother there. The boy’s mother has already returned to Russia where she is not deprived of her parental rights. This means that she has a chance to live with her son, Pavel Astakhov said.

“All these problems will be solved in line with the Russian legislation and we will not depend on Spanish authorities. Nevertheless, we are extremely grateful and thankful to the Spanish authorities for the fact that they returned our children. In fact, the Spanish admit that this is a precedent. The child welfare department in Catalonia helped us and did all the necessary paperwork. Unfortunately, this is not happening in several European countries, including France and Germany,” Pavel Astakhov added.

Voice of Russia


Boy, girl taken away from Russian families residing in Spain brought to Moscow

Russian children's rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov has brought from Barcelona to Moscow a girl and a boy taken away from Russian families by Spanish children's services.

"The children feel good. We are now giving Angel [the boy] to a guardianship agency of the Lipetsk region. We have information that his mom has already returned and is waiting for him there," Astakhov told reporters on Tuesday evening in the arrival hall of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport.

Astakhov said that the other child, a girl named Karina, was placed in the temporary custody of her uncle living in Moscow. Russian guardianship agencies will be the ones to decide whether the parents will be able to be with their kids in Russia, Astakhov said.

"As to the possibility of the parents being with the children here, in Russia, this possibility exists because their parental rights were terminated in Spain," the official said.

"Karina's mother could not confirm that she had a legal income in Spain," Astakhov said. "Angel's mother and father also could not confirm they had legal jobs. Plus, allegedly, cruelty took place," he said.

Astakhov said that the Spanish children's service were reluctant to give the children back. "Spaniards themselves said that this was a precedent - they have never returned Russian children, not to mention two simultaneously. So we kept this secret for quite a while, we were not sure completely if they were going to hand them over," Astakhov said.

"We have a principled stance that the children, whose parents lost their parental rights [abroad] and who have relatives in Russia, should be returned," Astakhov said.

At the same time, reporters managed to get in touch with Karina's uncle, who got temporary custody. The man told reporters he intended to register the guardianship in the future and said he was going to file a relevant request with a guardianship agency.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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