One of these days the court of Estonia temporarily restricted rights of Anatoliy Ghazaryan and Anna Mikhailova to retain custody over their child, and awarded custody of the eigh-year-old girl to Tallinn Child Support Center. Such decision of the court is based on the information presented by Estonian social services, according to which there were unsanitary conditions in the house the child lived in and child’s life was in danger. Parents of the child said that they were planning to move to Russia after receiving a series of warnings from social services, and that is the reason why Estonian services took their child. Taking into account the fact that child’s parents are citizens of RF, some Russian media presented what happened as «terrorism» against Russians living in Estonia.
Ghazaryan’s family lives in a three-room apartment in the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. Social services of Estonia claim that for 8 years they have been taking measures to improve living conditions in the apartment, but in vain. Moscow-based lawyer of the family Violetta Volkova states however that the decision to take the child was influenced by «complicated political relations» between Russia and Estonia.
«There is a political context in the issue, no other explanation to what has happened exists», – said the family lawyer. In another comment she presented the incident as «an act of pressure on the Russian speaking population in Estonia and violation of rights of Russian citizens».
By overstating such statements of Russian lawyer and understating the non-beneficial problem in a manner typical for Russian propaganda, Russian media presents that social services of Estonia took the child from family just because of «old wallpapers» in the house. However it is clear from the photos of the family apartment published on the internet that it is not just the matter of wallpapers. The photograph published on the child’s mother Anna Mikhailova Facebook page shows that 8 year old girl really sleeps on the mattress on the floor. After the issue was made public the family appeared in the spotlight of Estonian non-governmental organizations as well.
«I must say that the child was not taken because of old wallpapers and books, as many media outlets claim. I do not support separating a child from his/her family in any way; however the family really had problems. The house was terribly dirty, smoke of cigarettes and unimaginable stench was everywhere», said Anastasia Raya, a representative of «Parents of Estonia» NGO, in the interview to Baltnews.
«With regard to anti-Russian sentiment factor in this story, in my opinion, the story is not about it. I know that children from Estonian parents are taken in the same way. Suffice it to recall the sensational case of Heika Treyer or a little-known to general public case of Sandra H.», said Raya.
From January 2016 the Law on child protection entered into force by decision of the Parliament of Estonia. It enables local self-government bodies to take a child from his/her parents for 72 hours if the child is in danger and within 3 working days apply to the court with a claim to restrict parents’ right to custody over the child.
However, Russian media continues to present the incident as a result of Estonian «xenophobia» and issue with political context and look for «Russophobes» in a country, where 25% of population is Russian.