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Russian Boy Saved
March 18, 2010 permalink
An international dispute erupted between Finland and Russia after Finnish social workers took seven-year-old Robert Rantala from his parents, one of them a Russian. After a month in the orphanage he was sent to school for the first time, and escaped to his parents. Russian president Dmitri Medvedev appointed an envoy to deal with the problem, and the family home was occupied by Russian news reporters. News sources from Finland give only pap about this case, enclosed below is a real story from Russia. Later, Finnish authorities agreed to leave the boy with his family. In family affairs, Russia is now the city upon a hill that serves as an example for the rest of the world.
Rantala case should be settled out of court
Russia's Presidential Ombudsman Pavel Astakhov says the conflict between the parents of seven-year-old Robert Rantala and the Finnish child overseeing agencies should be settled out of court.
The Russian Ombudsman has met with the boy's Russian mother Inga Rantala in Turku, where the family lives. Inga Rantala is planning to appeal against the court's ruling under which her son was placed in an orphanage at the beginning of February. The conflict flared up after the boy told his classmates that his mother had smacked him and announced that he might leave for Russia. Turku's social care workers filed a lawsuit against Inga Rantala and her Finnish husband to strip them of parental rights.
Pavel Astakhov is seeking to postpone the court hearings set for March 19th to a later date. But the best solution, he says, would be to avoid court altogether.
"The top priority for now is to secure the family's reunion so that the boy will live with his mother and father, and not with strangers, where he might be exposed to abuse. It's important to reach a temporary truce and hammer out a negotiated solution which would satisfy all the parties involved".
The Russian Ombudsman considers it his personal victory that Robert Rantala stayed with his mum and dad after he had escaped from the orphanage on Monday. Pavel Astakhov will now insist on a psychological expertise having found the boy stressed out and with bruises and scratches.
Rantala is not the only Russian-Finnish family to have had problems with the country's child care authorities. In Turku alone 53 Russian women have faced similar injustices, and there were 11 thousand cases of this kind registered throughout Finland last year. This is a lot for a country of 5 million, Pavel Astakhov says. The Ombudsman plans to take the matter up with the Finnish authorities.
"Children have to be spared the stress of being dragged into disputes among the adults, he says. The best place for a child to live in is home. And we should simply put this question straight to him, where he would like to live and who with".
Hopefully, the disputes will be settled through a bilateral agreement between Russia and Finland.
The Finnish authorities have allowed Inga Rantala's son to stay home and revoked the lawsuit on Wednesday.
Source: Voice of Russia